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vol. n. 


J. A. SCHULZE, Publisher. 


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Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1884, 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

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First Sermon for the Day of the Lord's Supper, (translated by 

Prof. E. Schmid.) Page 1 

Second Sermon for the Day of the Lord's Supper. (Transl. by 

Prof. B. Schmid.) >........»».»>.. 16 

Thursday before Easter. (Transl. by Prof. E. Schmid.) .... 24 

Sermons on the Passion of Christ. Introductory Meditations. 

(Transl. by Prof. E. Schmid.) . . 42 

First Passion-Sermon. (Transl. by Her. 1 J. T. Isensee.) 64 

Second " " " 82 

Third " " " 98 

Fourth " " " 112 

Fifth " « «• ... 122 

Sixth " " " 134 

Seventh " " " 154 

Eighth " " " .... 166 

Ninth " " " ......... 180 

Tenth " " " 106 

Eleventh " " M 213 

Twelfth " •« " 231 

Thirteenth " «• " 250 

First Easter-Sermon. (Transl. by Prof. E. Schmid.).... 266 

Second " " t% 281 

Third " •« M 293 

Quasimodogeniti " " 307 

Misericordias Domini " " 324 

Jubilate " " 340 

Cantate " " 352 

Bogate " " 369 

Ascension Day " " 383 

Exaudi " " 401 

First Sermon for Pentecost •' " 416 

Second " " " <f 428 

Whit-Monday ct " 438 

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The Holy Sacrament. 

1 Cob. 11. 23-26. For I have received of the Lord that which also 
I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which 
He was betrayed, took bread : and when He had given thanks, He 
brake it, and said, Take, eat ; this is my body, which is broken for 
you : this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He 
took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testa- 
ment in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance 
of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do 
shew the Lord's death till He come. 

ccording to a time-honored usage, more people 
fcome to the Lord's Table at this season than 
at any other time during the year. This fact, to- 
gether with the urgent necessity that on a stated 
day the doctrine of the Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper be plainly taught the people from the pul- 
pit, prompts us to consider now the words of St. 
Paul, which you have heard read in our text. From 
these words we learn that this Sacrament was in no 
wise instituted or introduced by men, but by Christ 
Himself. In the night in which He was betrayed 
He instituted it for His disciples, yea for all Chris- 
tians, that it might be unto them Hi's Testament, 
His parting gift, full of great comfort and blessing. 
We Christians should therefore cherish this 
Testament as a treasure of the highest value, should 
love it dearly, and should make use of it cheerfully 

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and frequently, deriving from it much joy and con- 
solation, thus fulfilling the will of our dying Lord 
and Saviour. His command in this regard is plain ; 
He enjoins upon us the use of this Sacrament. 
True Christians will never disregard this command, 
but will readily and often find comfort in its fulfill- 
ment, even until that day when the Lord, who 
Himself gave us such a Testament, shall again come 
from heaven to judge the quick and the dead. 

While the Pope yet held us in his sway we were 
frightened by the words of St. Paul : "He that eat- 
eth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh 
damnation to himself;" for no one taught us 
aright what these words really mean. Hence the 
Holy Sacrament was dishonored ; the people shun- 
ned it as death-bringing, and instead of regarding 
it as food unto life, they thought it dangerous and 
pernicious. The lying priests brought this about, 
though we richly deserved it by our own base in- 
gratitude. Christ meant it so well with us, but we 
were careless and ungrateful ; no wonder therefore 
that our joy was changed into sorrow, our happiness 
into weeping, and our blessing into a curse. We 
ourselves were to blame in this; we shamefully 
neglected the great and sacred treasure. 

A similar calamity is now threatened by the 
Sacramentarian8, who bring dangerous controversies 
into the churches by their false doctrines concern- 
ing the Sacrament ; for they teach the people that 
in it we have naught but bread and wine, thus de- 
priving the Christians again of the comfortable 
assurance of grace, which Christ has connected with 
this Sacrament and given to His Church. We must 
therefore avoid these false teachers, else they will 

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drag us once more into the bitter woe which we 
endured under the Pope, when it had become cus- 
tomary to preach of this Sacrament in such a man- 
ner as to produce but fear and trembling, so that 
people refused to participate in it, and lost all the 
gladness and grace which this holy food can bring. 

We were told that we must first confess all our 
sins, and do penance for them, ere we could ap- 
proach the Table of the Lord. To do this was, 
however, an impossibility. We were conscious of 
our sinfulness and feared to partake of this food, 
judging ourselves unworthy of it, so that no one 
could commune with a cheerful heart. Every one 
mistrusted this benign institution, fearing it to be 
a source of death, or a means of "eating damnation 
to himself," as St. Paul expresses it. Surely that 
was a most lamentable state of affairs, when the 
people became averse to the most blessed Sacra- 

But the Pope made the evil worse by inconsider- 
ately compelling the terrified and trembling souls 
to come to the Lord's Supper at least once a year. 
He excommunicated every one who did not an- 
nually come to the Sacrament; and yet he only 
distributed it under one form, as it is called, in 
direct contradiction to the command of our Lord, 
who so instituted His Testament that His body and 
blood should be received not only by eating of the 
bread, but also by partaking of the cup. This form 
of the institution of the Sacrament the Pope tram- 
pled under foot, and he even yet condemns as a heresy 
the distribution of the Lord's Supper under a two- 
fold form, even though Christ Himself thus insti- 
tuted and ordered it. What a terrible abomination 

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they made of the Sacrament, causing people to be 
afraid of it, and then forcing them to receive it ; 
and what was worse than all, changing the form of 
the institution, in plain opposition to the command 
of Christ. 

Imagine for yourself what pleasure you would 
have in such a compulsory eating and drinking. 
You would have as little relish for it as the sick 
man has for the wine whose very smell he abhors, 
but which he is forced to swallow. It was a neces- 
sary consequence that the Holy Sacrament proved 
ineffectual with the people in the papacy ; for they 
could but receive it with the conviction of their 
own impurity and unworthiness, and yet through 
fear of excommunication they partook of it. No 
wonder that it was to them void of consolation and 

But the Pope still further abused the Holy Sup- 
per and the Testament of our Lord, when by the 
assistance of his priests he made it a matter of mer- 
chandize in behalf of the dead, so that the mass was 
celebrated without devotion, merely for money and 
revenue. Methinks this was, beyond all dispute, a 
most sacrilegious abuse of the Sacrament; and I 
have not the least doubt, if popery had remained in 
its glory, if the blessed Gospel had not been brought 
to light again, the living would finally have been 
entirely deprived of the Holy Supper, and it would 
have been applied only to the dead. Those of us 
more advanced in years can well recollect the pomp 
and ostentation with which mass for the departed 
was everywhere celebrated. 

I mention these things in this connection to show 
how God punished an ungrateful world by permit- 

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ting the Pope to distribute the Sacrament in a 
mutilated manner to a benighted people, who went 
to the Lord's Table as if to perform a work, not to 
receive a blessing, fearing the wrath and judgment 
of God. 

In addition to this the Pope employed the mass 
as a soothing remedy for every kind of misfortune 
and disease. Let such perversions be to us a warn- 
iug example, that we may not become similar de- 
spisers of the Holy Sacrament, but that we may 
receive it right gladly, according to its institution 
and true meaning. 

Tell me, is it not an exceedingly cheering word, 
when the Lord tells His disciples so graciously and 
kindly : "Take and eat, this is my body ; take and 
drink ye all of it; this cup is the "New Testament 
in my blood, this do in remembrance of me," and 
do it not only once, but repeatedly until the end of 
time? Our blessed Lord desired, by means of this 
Sacrament and Testament, to keep alive in us our 
remembrance of Him and our faith. He therefore 
instituted His Supper as a constant memorial of 
His death, through which we are delivered from 
our sins and eternal misery. 

In this we can see naught but condescension and 
love ; there is no anger here nor vengeance ; yea, 
parents could not deal more kindly with their 
children. Christ's chief desire, as He Himself de- 
clares, is that we shall not forget Him. It is His 
earnest intention that our whole being shall be im- 
pressed with the memory of His passion, that we 
may never forget how He died for us upon the 
cross and rose again from the dead. It was His 
purpose that coming generations should know Him 

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as their Lord, that they might be saved by Him ; 
and therefore, also, He earnestly enjoined upon 
Christians to instruct the young in His word, and 
to keep His remembrance sacred, that those who 
come after them may also be induced to worship 
Him in the congregation of believers, and own Him 
as their Christ and only consolation. For this rea- 
son the Lord made His Testament, and we ought 
never to weary in the remembrance of it. Surely, 
wheu true friends meet it is no burdensome task 
for them to sit together in conversation throughout 
the night, forgetful of sleep and rest; why then 
should we grow weary of learning and of preaching 
the precious truth that Christ the Lord is our Re- 
deemer ? 

But the Sacrament of the Holy Supper was in- 
stituted not merely that by its observance Christ 
might be honored; for He can truthfully say: I 
need not thy praise, I am the Son of God, whether 
thou glorifiest me or not; but also and especially 
for the reason that we stand in need of such a 
Testament and Supper, and that we might be ben- 
efited by it. Listen to the words with which He 
gives the bread : "Take, eat, this is my body, which 
is given for you," and with which, soon after, He 
gives the cup : "Drink ye all of it ; this cup is the 
New Testament in my blood, which is shed lor 
vou, for the remission of sins." 

This declaration is the Christian's most effective 
consolation; for he who really believes that Christ 
gave His body for him, and that He shed His blood 
for the remission of his sins, cannot despair, no 
matter what sin, the world and the devil may say. 
He knows that this treasure wherewith his sins 

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have been cancelled is far greater than all his in- 

But the consolation contained in this declaration 
stands not alone ; Christ really gives us with the 
bread His body to eat, and with the wine His blood 
to drink, as the words plainly state, in spite of the 
devil. Each one that eateth and drinketh, receives 
for himself in this Sacrament the body and the 
blood of Christ as his own especial gift. Yea, this 
is the very truth which we must firmly hold : Christ 
suffered and died for me also, and not alone for St. 
Peter, St. Paul or other saints. To assure us of 
this truth Christ gave His Testament ; for through 
it each one individually receives the body and the 
blood of Christ. It is therefore proper to say that 
through this Sacrament we obtain forgiveness of 
sins; for where Christ is, there is forgiveness of 
sins; here we have His body and blood, as the 
words declare ; therefore he who eats and drinks, 
believing that the body of Christ was given for 
him, and that His blood was shed for the forgive- 
ness of his sins, must surely have this forgiveness. 
Yet, it is not the act of going to the Sacrament, 
nor the eating and the drinking, whereby we gain 
this divine grace, as the Papists falsely teach con- 
cerning the performance of their mass ; but it is the 
faith in us which believes the words of Christ when 
He says : I give you my body, given for you into 
death, and give you my blood, shed for you for the 
remission of your sins. Thus will our reception of 
the Sacrament tend to the strengthening of our 
faith, and the chief and greatest blessing of this 
Testament will be ours. 

Another benign effect of this Sacrament is the 

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union, in faith and doctrine, which it produces 
among Christians, and which is so very necessary. 
To bring about true union among Christians it is 
not sufficient, that they come together to hear the 
same preaching and the same word, but they must 
also meet around the same altar to receive the same 
food and drink. 

One may, perchance, hear me preach the word 
and yet be my enemy ; but if one partakes of the 
Lord's Supper he, by that act, makes for himself, 
individually, a public confession of his faith, although 
there may be hypocrites now and then ; and thus a 
more reliable union, between the Christians who 
unite in this Sacrament, is formed than if they 
merely had the Gospel preached unto them, though 
this may also cause them to be of one mind. Those 
of the same faith and the same hope unite at the 
Table of the Lord, while those of a different faith 
stand aloof. Agreement in the Church is very de- 
sirable, and there should be no divisions in matters 
of faith. This union was properly called, by a Latin 
term, Gommunio^ a communion, and those who 
would not agree with other Christians in faith, 
doctrine and life were called Excommunicati, as be- 
ing different in their belief and conduct, and hence 
unworthy to belong to the congregation of those 
who are of one mind, lest they might produce dis- 
sensions and schisms. By means also of the Holy 
Sacrament Christ establishes this union among the 
little company of His believers. 

Our old teachers entertained beautiful thoughts 
in regard to this when they said: Christ took 
bread and wine for His Supper to indicate that, 
just as many distinct and separate grains of wheat, 

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when ground together, make one loaf of bread, so 
we, being many, are one bread and one body : for 
we are all partakers of that one bread, though each 
one is a distinct person and separate individuality, 
1 Cor. 10. And again, as many clusters of grapes 
and many little berries, each distinct and separate, 
when pressed together form one delicious juice, one 
wine, thus it is with the Christians who have the 
same faith, the same confession, the same love and 
hope of salvation. 

This was the interpretation of our fathers, and 
they were not mistaken in it. The Holy Sacrament 
has the eiiect to firmly join the Christians together 
in unity of purpose, doctrine and faith, so that no 
one should stand alone, nor have his own doctrine 
or belief. The devil is sorely vexed at this, and is 
busy in endeavoring to destroy such unity and 
agreement. He knows full well what injury results 
to him, if we are united in our confession and ad- 
here to one Head ; hence he endeavors to tempt us, 
here and there, with false doctrines, with doubt, 
with lying insinuations in regard to the Sacrament 
and other articles of faith, hoping to cause dissen- 
sions in the Church. 

It is true, offenses will come, yet it behooves us 
to guard against them, so that the devil may not 
entirely separate us. If one or the other insists on 
differing with us in the doctrine of the Sacrament, 
or in other parts of our faith, let us, who agree in 
one confession, be so much the more united in our 
ferith in Christ Jesus ; yea, let us be in this as oue 
man. This, however, is only possible where there 
is unity in doctrine. 

This, then, is an additional benefit of the institu- 

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tion of the Holy Supper. Our Lord gave us this 
Sacrament to bring about unity of faith, of doctrine 
and of life. The external differences in the stations 
of life will, of course, continue ; there is no equality 
there. Each one has his own duties to perform, 
which differ vastly from each other. A farmer 
leads another life than a prince ; the wife and mis- 
tress of the house has other duties to perform than 
the maid-servant. Such distinctions must ever re- 
main in our every day life. But in Christ there is 
neither male nor female, no prince nor tiller of the 
soil : they are all Christians. The Gospel, the promise 
and faith which I have, belongs equally to prince, 
peasant, woman, servant and child. 

Such equality is indicated by the Holy Supper, 
since in it we all receive the same food and nour- 
ishment, whether we be man or wife, matron or 
maid, father or child, ruler or subject. If we have 
the same faith we are heirs of the same heaven, 
though I may reside here and another in Jerusalem, 
and we are personally total strangers to each other; 
for we both have the same Lord, in whom we be- 
lieve and hope for salvation. This union of faith 
causes the devil immense displeasure, and he is ever 
on the alert to sunder our communion; for he 
knows how his influence is thwarted when Chris- 
tians firmly agree in faith and doctrine. Against 
these attempts of Satan, Christ instituted this Holy 
Sacrament as a means of uniting the believers. 

From this it follows that this Sacrament is needed 
by every individual ; and if we disregard it and fail 
to praise the Lord, and so sever ourselves from the 
communion of Christians, the loss will be ours, and 
will become greater the longer we abstain from the 

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Sacrament. It is true, indeed, that Christ has no 
need for Himself of our compliance with His ordi- 
nance, nor of our remembrance of Him ; it is to our 
own advantage to do so ; for if we are not in com- 
munion with Christ we are in communion with the 
devil, and will suffer great injury. Even if Satan 
cannot harm us externally, we still will carry with 
us in our bosoms our bitter foe. 

We ever have near us an advocate of evil, whether 
we eat or drink, whether we are asleep or awake, 
even our own flesh, the old Adam. He accompanies 
us to bed and arises with us in the morning ; he 
pleads unceasingly and eloquently, with the fixed 
purpose of estranging us from Christ and His Gos- 
pel. This advocate of evil whom we constantly 
carry about with us, and whose habitation is in our 
hearts, is ever intent on exciting us to become rich 
and great in the world, and sways us with the de- 
lusion that we have neither occasion nor time to go 
to the Sacrament. If we heed his lying counsels 
we will grow colder and colder in our love towards 
Christ and His gifts ; yea, though we might even 
daily hear His word, this cunning tempter within 
us will bring it to pass that we do so merely out- 
wardly, while in reality our devotion is a sham, and 
our thoughts are engaged with the business of this 
world. Show me the avaricious man who grows 
weary of his passion ! Is it not rather time that 
the covetous man becomes fonder and fonder of his 
idols from day to day, cherishing and pursuing 
with eagerness avarice and usury? The same is 
true in regard to other sins. The lewd person de- 
lights in his unchastity ; he thinks and speaks about 
it with evident glee, and indulges in his wicked 

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passion more and more. Such are the results of 
the instructions which the old Adam gives : they 
lead to destruction. 

Christ desires to counteract the sinister influence 
of the old seducer within us, who would fix our at- 
tention alone and chiefly on temporal things. 
Christ instead would have us he mindful of eternity, 
of Himself, our Saviour, who died for us upon the 
cross. He would fain have us see our foolishness, 
so that we would gladly come unto Him, weary of 
our depraved life r exclaiming: O Lord, we know 
how sinful we are, and how unable to resist the 
allurements of evil, therefore we cry unto Thee for 
help; enable Thou us to shun the world and to 
love Thee truly. We stand in daily need of such 
remembrance of Christ in opposition to this perni- 
cious advocate, this old Adam within us, who 
clamors about our ears day and night, hoping to 
plunge us, beyond all help, into the cares and 
pleasures of this world. 

To counteract this wicked purpose, Christ insti- 
tuted His Holy Supper, that its celebration should 
remind us of the life to come. He takes the bread 
and the cup, and tells His disciples to eat and to 
drink, saying, "This is my body and blood, given 
for you, and shed for your sins," at the same time 
exhorting us to remember Him, and not to run 
merely after the things of this world, as we general- 
ly do. In the Holy Supper He gives us an oppor- 
tunity to receive Him, to come unto Him, and to 
remember Him; for in Communion the benefit is 
ours; He has no need of it. 

I doubt not that the people would fairly crowd to 
the Sacrament if money, or earthly gifts, were dis- 

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tributed there; yea, the blind and the lame would 
rush thither, regardless of intervening rivers and 

We ought, indeed, to be ashamed of ourselves, 
when we think what a miserable set we are, al- 
ways ready to run after money and perishable 
things, while we are so slow, yea, so averse, to come 
to the Table of the Lord, where a heavenly gift, 
even His body and blood, awaits us. Here, in this 
Testament, a precious treasure, salvation and happi- 
ness, is to be conveyed to us; but, alas, we flee from 
it as from poison or some terrible punishment. 

How comes it that we prize gold and silver more 
than this magnificent, precious treasure? The dev- 
il is the instigator of this our choice; he influences 
our old Adam, who is naturally backward and in- 
different towards things eternal, and cares more for 
that which is temporal. This ingratitude and care- 
lessness is very sinful, yea, much more than can be 
imagined; nevertheless we are often guilty of it, 
else we would seek more diligently the kingdom of 
heaven and its blessings, which are not transitory, 
like the earthly property, of which we are so much 
enamored. Let us never forget that we must in 
due time render an account of our behavior in this 
regard. * 

The Lord's Supper admonishes us not to be un- 
grateful any longer, but to realize, together with 
other Christians, with whom we confess our faith 
and share this most Holy Sacrament, what great 
blessings Christ bestows upon us through it, and 
how we should therefore serve and praise Him as 
our Lord, who not only died for us, but also gives 
us, as nourishment for our souls, His body and 

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blood. He desires that we should remember Him 
whilst we receive it to the strengthening of our 
faith and the preservation of unity among the 

Whosoever refuses to comply with the command 
of the Lord, deserves to fall into the hands of false 
teachers, who preach to him that in the Lord's 
Supper there is naught but bread and wine. In 
the papacy the doctrine concerning this Sacrament 
was falsified, for the Lord was not remembered as 
He had ordered it ; and hence it resulted that no one 
knew what the Lord's Supper was, and why one 
should receive it. Obedience to the Church was 
considered the chief concern of all, and the result 
was idolatry and invocation of the saints, 

God grant that we may retain the true faith and 
have a living interest in this matter. We have the 
doctrine true and pure again, we understand why 
we go to the Holy Sacrament, to remember the 
Lord with praise and thanksgiving for His mercy 
and kindness, and also to receive therefrom con- 
solation and strengthening of our faith. Let then 
our hearts be firm and not doubt; let us be assured 
that God is pleased with us, and will not punish us 
for our sins, since Christ gave for us His body and 
"for us shed His sacred blood. Thus will we proclaim 
the death of our Lord aright and fulfill His com- 
mand : "Do this in remembrance of me." 

In view of this, judge for yourself what kind of 
Christians those persons are, who stay away from 
the Lord's Supper one whole year, yea two, three 
and even more years? Such people are surely pos- 
sessed of the devil ; they either have no knowledge 
of their sins, and consequently take no thoughts 

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how to be relieved of them, are else they are so 
wrapped up in the affairs of this world that they 
entirely forget the life to come. This is dreadful 
indeed. Whosoever professes to be a Christian and 
desires to live in accordance with his profession, 
must come repeatedly and often to the Holy Sac- 
rament. Its blessings are very necessary for the 
Christian, as we have shown above. 

This, however, does not apply to those who cannot 
receive the entire Sacrament as it was instituted by 
Christ, and hence refrain from participating in it at 
all. Such people must be satisfied with the word 
of Christ and the assurances of His Gospel, until 
God in mercy gives them an opportunity to enjoy 
again the Holy Supper in its entirety and purity, 
as Christ instituted it. 

May God give us grace, through His Holy Spirit, 
that we may ever receive this blessed Sacrament to 
the glory of Christ, and to our souls' salvation. 

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1 Cor. 11, 27-34. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and 
drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body 
and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let 
him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and 
drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not 
discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly 
among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we 
should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of 
the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Where- 
fore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for an- 
other. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come 
not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order 
when I come. 

eOj^his text is of great importance and deserves 
i§§§}to be attentively considered by Christians. 
We have already learned, from the previous sermon, 
how the people misunderstood these words, so as to 
deprive themselves of the comfort contained in the 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, yea, even shunned 
it as something dangerous. 

It is true, Judas did not receive this Sacrament 
to his consolation or amendment. There were also 
mauy among the Corinthians, as St. Paul tells us, 
who received it unworthily, and thus brought upon 
themselves bodily and spiritual punishment. There 
is indeed a difference in the reception of this Sacra- 
ment ; some partake of it worthily and unto eternal 
life, but others unworthily unto condemnation, in- 
asmuch as they do not repent and have true faith. 
Hence it is of the first importance that we learn to* 
know what is meant by the expression "eating and 
drinking worthily or unworthily." 

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The Papists taught that one should not partake 
of this Sacrament except he be entirely fit and per- 
fectly pure. Such fitness, however, they made de- 
pendent upon certain works of penance, much eulo- 
gized by the priests; such as auricular confession, 
castigation of the body, fastings, prayers, giving of 
alms, aud the like. These were accounted sufficient 
satisfaction for the sins committed. But such 
worthiness is of no account; for it is impossible by 
our own deeds to become really pure and worthy 
before God. Even the disciples were not perfectly 
pure when Christ gave them His Supper, for He 
tells them that they have need of washing their 
feet, by which He meant not the washing with 
water, but the forgiveness of their sins. 

Let us then learn to understand and to remember, 
in this connection, that they do not receive the 
Sacrament unworthily who know and mourn their 
wretchedness; who confess that they are poor, 
miserable sinners ; who experience many a tempta- 
tion ; who are yet affected by anger and impatience, 
by passion and intemperance. Such and similar 
sins adhere to us more or less as long as we live on 
earth : and if we earnestly repent of them, and do 
not continue in them against the warning voice of 
our conscience; if we seek their forgiveness and 
consolation in the misery which they brought upon 
us, we ought not to be deterred from coming to the 
Holy Sacrament. As long as the old Adam is with- 
in us, it will surely happen that impatience, wicked 
tjioughts, and the like, will trouble us and cause us 
to sin. If we then had to remain away from the 
table of the Lord until we had become entirely free 

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from sin, we would, indeed, never be fit to come to 
this Holy Sacrament. 

They, however, receive it unworthily who know- 
ingly and intentionally persist in their sins, such as 
revengeful wrath, murder, fornication, adultery, 
and similar manifest sins and crimes. Christ insti- 
tuted the Holy Sacrament unto the forgiveness of 
our sins, that we should forsake them and not con- 
tinue in them. Judas received the Sacrament unto 
his condemnation and death, because he had deter- 
mined to destroy the Lord, and did not recede from 
this his wicked purpose. 

Some people are shocked by this example ; they 
know that they * are guilty of hatred, malice, and 
other sins, wherefore they will not come to the 
Lord's Supper, but postpone it from day to day, 
and from year to year, simply because they are un- 
willing to give up their anger and their hatred. 
Such persons commit a twofold wrong; they cling 
tenaciously to their sins, and also wickedly despise 
the command of Christ to partake of His Sacrament. 
These people should desire to put an end to their 
wrath and envy, should strive to desist from sin, 
and should long to obtain, through the reception of 
the Holy Sacrament, remission of sins and strength- 
ening of their faith. If then there is yet remaining 
a glimmering of sin and weakness, if now and then 
evil thoughts and passions make their presence 
known, we must cry unto God and pray : O Lord, 
give me a peaceable, kind and loving heart, and 
cleanse me from my sins, for Christ's sake. Thus 
can we come to the Supper of the Lord in faith and 
hope, without being terrified by this saying of St. 
Paul ; for this does not pertain to those who long 

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to be liberated from the bondage of sin, but to those 
who are therein, and do not desire to be freed, but 
rather find pleasure in their wickedness and defend 
their evil deeds. The Corinthians were such peo- 
ple; wherefore the apostle tells them: "I praise 
you not," indicating that they were not penitent, 
aud yet desired to be praised as good Christians. 

The custom prevailing at that time in regard to 
the Lord's Supper was different from the present. 
The Christians came together in the evening, and 
each one ate whatever he had, in the presence of 
the others. Sometimes it happened that a part ate 
and drank too much, while others who had nothing 
suffered want. Such conduct the apostle condemns. 
He declares it to be damnable, if persons deliber- 
ately sin, and then go to the Sacrament as though 
nothing had happened. They who act thus, eat and 
drink the Sacrament unworthily, and God punishes 
them with sickness and other afflictions. 

You observe that such wickedness is far greater 
than the shortcomings of wavering hearts which, 
seeing the error of their ways, return to the path of 
duty and earnestly pray: God, we have done 
evil before Thee; forgive us our manifold sins. 
Christ will surely pardon them, and invite them to 
His Supper ; He does not invite the self-righteous 
and saintly, but just these poor sinners, who on 
account of their guilt are greatly troubled and in 
sorrow. This He means by the words : "This is 
my body given for you unto death, this is my blood 
which is shed for the remission of your sins/' 
Surely, they must have been great and guilty sin- 
ners for whom such a glorious sacrifice and such a 
great ransom was offered. The great requirement, 

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therefore, is this: we must discover that we are 
really sinners, and then come to the Table of the 
Lord for comfort and relief; but he who will not 
confess his sins nor amend his ways, should by no 
means come to this Holy Sacrament. 

It is often the case, and strangely so, that those 
who need not fear, unto whom God is truly merci- 
ful and whom He would own as His children, are 
sorely troubled with fear, whilst those who ought 
to tremble with terror are entirely unconcerned 
and think not of their sins, but continue straight 
on upon their wicked course, as would a rifle ball 
when once discharged. We see this in the example 
of the Papists. They scorn and persecute the word 
of God, put to death the faithful Christians, and 
force people, in violation of their conscience, to 
commit idolatry ; still they think themselves pious 
and holy, and are right merry in their delusion. 
On the other hand, the little company who do not 
sin intentionally are diffident and affrighted ; they 
lament the sins of which they were once guilty, 
and wish that they had never occurred. Thus it is, 
those who might have consolation do not lay hold 
upon it, whilst they who ought to fear are secure 
and devoid of every terror. 

In reference to this fact the apostle Paul says : 
"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat 
of that bread, and drink of that cup." To examine 
one's self means to consider well in what condition 
we are. If we find that our hearts are hardened, 
that we are not willing to refrain from sin, and 
that we do not fear its presence, then we may well 
conclude that we should not go to the Sacrament; 
for we are then no Christians. The best thing we 

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could do, under such circumstances, would be to 
put a stop to such wickedness, to repent, to trust 
faithfully in the promises and mercy of God, and 
to unite again with Christians in the participation 
of the Holy Sacrament. If, however, we are un- 
willing to do this, we ought not to approach the 
Lord's Table ; for we would surely eat and drink 
damnation there. Let us carefully meditate upon 
what eternity has in store for us, if we thus fall 
under the judgment of God. If we are mindful of 
this, we will not be slow to repent, to put aside an- 
ger and other kinds of wickedness, and to make our 
peace with God in His Holy Supper. Again, if our 
hearts are contrite, if we confess our sins before 
God and are heartily sorry on account of them, if 
we believe that God in mercy, for Christ's sake, 
will pardon us, then we are well prepared and can 
confidingly say unto the Saviour: Lord, we are 
poor sinners, and therefore come to Thy Table to 
receive consolation. If we approach the Sacrament 
in such a spirit, we shall be truly ready and receive 
the richest blessings. In behalf of such contrite 
and sorrowing souls the Lord's Table was prepared, 
so that they might find there consolation and joy. 
Those, however, who are without penitence, and 
who continue in their haughtiness and sin, will not 
be relieved of their fear and will surely be damned. 
Some of the old teachers in the Church under- 
stood this word of the apostle : "Let a man examine 
himself," as excluding from the Sacrament all per- 
sons who are guilty of manifest crimes punished by 
the civil government, such as murder, adultery, 
lewdness, and the like. This is a mistake ; for, as 
we have seen above, only those who willfully con- 

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tinue in their sins, and will not amend their lives, 
are cautioned to refrain from partaking of the Sac- 
rament. These would only augment their account 
of wrath ; for by coming to the Table of the Lord 
they make a pretended profession of Christian faith, 
of which not the least symptoms are discernible in 
their lives. 

Whosoever has been guilty of these great sins, 
and has repented of them, ought not to be deterred 
by them from seeking absolution and receiving the 
Lord's Supper. Let him come and pray unto God 
to give him strength to avoid such wickedness in 
the future, and to lead a better life. Likewise our 
infirmities, which daily vex us, ought not to keep 
us away ; for of these we shall never get rid entirely 
while we live in this world. If it were then our 
determination not to come to the Sacrament until 
we were perfectly righteous and pure, we would 
be compelled to stay away from it forever. 

I can speak from my own experience in regard 
to this, and I know the effects of the avoidance of 
the Lord's Supper. I was under the influence of 
this devilish delusion, and became more and more a 
stranger at the Lord's Table. Avoid this error, my 
hearers, and see to it that you come often and well 
prepared ; if sin and crime rest heavily upon your 
souls, forget not then your Lord and Saviour; think 
of His death and sacrifice for sinners ; repent and 
trust in Him. This, and no more, He requires of 
us as worthy guests at His Table. 

Our great infirmity and daily transgressions, for 
which we need support and forgiveness, as well as 
the unity of faith and confession thereby established 
in the Church, make it an imperative necessity that 

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we should frequently celebrate and receive the 
Lord's Supper, thus fulfilling 'lis command: "Bo 
this in remembrance of me." Therefore, whosoever 
comes to the Table of the Lord as a poor sinner, is 
yet worthy and well prepared ; nor will he eat and 
drink damnation to himself; but he will receive 
the body and the blood of Christ worthily, unto his 
soul's salvation. 

May God grant us this blessing through His 
Holy Ghost, for the sake of Christ Jesus, His Son, 
our Redeemer. Amen. 

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Jesus washes the Feet of His Disciples. 

John 13, 1-1 1. Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus 
knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world 
unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He 
loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having 
now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him; 
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, 
and that He was come from God, and went to God ; He riseth from 
supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded 
Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to 
wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wheiewith 
He was girded. Then cometh He to Simon Peter : and Peter saith 
unto Him, Lord, dost Tbou wash my feet ? Jesus answered and said 
unto him, What I do thou knowest not now ; but thou shalt know 
hereafter. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. 
Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 
Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my 
hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth 
not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit ; and ye are clean, 
but not all. For He knew who should betray Him ; therefore said 
He, Ye are not all clean. So after He had washed their feet, and had 
taken 11 is garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, 
Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: 
and ye say well ; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have 
washed your feet ; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. Fori 
have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his 
lord ; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye 
know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 


ohn is the only Evangelist who mentions the 
JJjincident of the washing of the feet of the disci- 
ples by Christ ; hence it might seem that this occur- 
rence was of but little importance. John, however, 
introduces it with so much minuteness and care, 
that jve cannot but believe that Christ intended to 
teach an important lesson by it ; for after its per- 

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formaace He admonishes His disciples to observe 
this example and to wash each others' feet. Hence 
many Christians still continue this practice. The 
Papists, however, in this, as in other matters, do 
not understand the true meaning ; they are satisfied 
with the mere external observance of the custom, 
and have therefore no benefit from it. Hence it is 
necessary to preach about this occurrence, and to 
instruct the people as to its true meaning. 

The first part of the narrative, as John gives it, 
appears somewhat peculiar. He begins thus: 
"When Jesus knew that His hour was come that 
He should depart out of this world unto the Father, 
having loved His own which were in the world, He 
loved them unto the end." Now, what has all this 
to do with the washing of feet ? How can these 
words be made to harmonize with the rest of the 
story ? These questions can easily and fully be an- 
swered, if we but earnestly consider the whole ac- 
count. When the Evangelist tells us that Jesus 
knew that His hour was now at hand to depart 
from this world unto the Father, he wishes thereby 
to awaken within us a lively attention to this deed 
and the lessons which it contains ; for this washing 
of feet happened nearly in the last hour before Christ's 
departure from this world. Now it is certain that 
we remember and cherish the last wishes of our dy- 
ing friends more earnestly and dutifully than any 
other of their words and deeds ; for when it comes 
to dying, pleasantries and jestings are at an end, 
and the words then spoken are full of sincerity and 

St. John would therefore tell us: Listen, you 
shall hear a story and a lesson important, and well 

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tp be remembered ; you shall hear of the last deed 
of Christ and of His final admonition to His disci- 
ples, which He began at the washing of their feet 
and concluded upon His way to the Mount of Olives. 
These circumstances impress us with the great im- 
portance of the incident recorded in our text ; for, 
surely, if it were of a trifling kind, it would not 
have occurred in this solemn hour of anxiety and 

Again, we must bear in mind that John refers to 
the "love" which the Lord manifested towards His 
disciples, in order that we may learn, from this 
washing of feet, the great condescension ot Christ 
to men, yea, even unto us. Hence we assert the 
great importance of this incident for the following 
reasons: It occurred just before His death, and in 
it He exhibited His great love and condescension. 
We, therefore, must not slight this deed and its ad- 
monition : for when love and mercy prompts the 
Lord to action, His deeds can not be insignificant. 

St. John further exalts this subject when he says: 
Jesus loved His own which were in the world, that 
is, the time has now come for the Lord to depart 
from His disciples, who, while yet in the world, 
have need of such an example and admonition, lest 
they be tempted and yield to the allurements of the 
world. The children of this world are selfish ; each 
one thinks only of himself and his own welfare, no 
matter how the others may fare. Christ would 
teach us, by His own example, how we should act 
towards each other, and avoid this mean selfishness, 
which is so prevalent. He is the Lord over all, yet 
He humbles Himself and even becomes a servant to 
His disciples. Let us learn humility from Him, 

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that we may not fall into the sin of selfishness, bat 
know how to avoid it and be happy. 

The Evangelist intentionally records the fact that 
the devil prompted Judas to betray the Lord, and 
wishes thereby to teach us, that the Apostles and 
all Christians are subject not only to the allure* 
ments of the world, but are also directly influenced 
by the devil to selfishness, arrogance and pride. 
The only available remedy against this evil is to 
follow the example of Christ, who, just at the eve 
of His betrayal into the bands of the heathens, gave 
us yet such an illustrious proof of humility and 
condescension as is recorded in the incident of the 
washing of the feet of His disciples. 

"To be in the world" means really to be in the 
midst of devils. It is therefore impossible for us to 
conduct ourselves aright unless we follow the pre- 
cepts of the word of God and also this example of 
Christ. The flesh is averse to all self-denial, and 
would ever prefer its own supremacy. To counter* 
act such inclination, the Lord gives us here an ex* 
ample to be remembered and followed. He is filled 
with true love toward us, and desires to protect us 
from sin and shame. 

The introductory words of the Evangelist to the 
narrative of the washing of feet are therefore very 
valuable; they teach us the love and care of Christ 
toward His people. And yet this account, though 
read and chanted a thousand times and more, hi 
many a convent and cathedral, is not appreciated 
nor understood. 

But let us proceed. What is the meaning of the 
words: "Jesus knowing that the Father had given 
all things into His hands, and that He was come 

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from ©od, and went to God ?" These are important 
words, indicating the thoughts of our Lord previous 
to the washing of feet. He evidently did not then 
meditate upon His approaching passion, nor did He 
at that time feel sad, as was the case soon after ; but 
He thought of His glory which He had with the 
Father from all eternity, and which He would now 
again assume as to His human nature. Such 
thoughts were sublime, and might well have ab- 
sorbed His entire attention, to the utter exclusion of 
the world and every mortal therein. 

But even now, while meditating upon His divine 
glory, He arises suddenly from the table, throws off 
His outer garment, takes a towel, girds Himself, 
pours water into a basin, washes the feet of His 
disciples, and wipes them with the towel wherewith 
He was girded. 

Consider well His thoughts and His deed. He 
knows and thinks of it that He is Lord God over 
all ; that in less than one day the devil shall have 
accomplished what he can, and that thereafter all 
His enemies shall be vanquished and His Christians 
be at ease. Now turn to His deed, and what is it? 
Why, this very Lord performs now a task which is 
commonly done by the servants of the house ; He 
washes the feet of His disciples, 

Christ desires us to learn from this occurrence to 
humiliate ourselves, and not to abuse our position 
and our power by insolence and arrogance toward 
pur fellow-men, but to help and to serve them with 
our means as much as we can, even as He Himself, 
the Lord of glory, became humble and of low estate, 
yea, even the servant of His disciples. Jesus Himself 
explains the meaning of the feet- washing when He 

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says: "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye 
call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so 
I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have 
washed your feet ; ye also ought to wash one an- 
other's feet. For I have given you an example, 
that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, 
verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater 
than his lord ; neither he that is sent greater than 
he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy 
are ye if ye do them." Here we see what this feet- 
washing really means, and that this story is told ua 
that we might imitate its precepts with care and 

The Pope, his monks and priests, also kings and 
princes, now and then, observe the custom of wash- 
ing the feet of certain paupers ; but of humility in, 
the performance of this ceremony there is no sign 
discernible. There are many among them, and that 
too the more honest ones, who wash the feet of 
their brothers of the order, or of their subjects, with 
so little of the spirit of humility, that they after- 
wards, in the confessional, seek forgiveness for the 
pride which dwelt in their hearts during the execu- 
tion of this duty. Why, dear friend, tell me what 
kind of humility is it if you by this act seek applause 
and the appearance of saintliness ; or what availeth 
it your brother if you wash his feet to make a dis- 
play, and to gain glory before the world I 

If our bishops would really take to heart the great 
calamity of 'idolatry that afflicts the people who 
have not the true doctrine of the forgiveness of 
sins, nor know how to obtain eternal life ; if they 
would endeavor to have the true word of God 
preached and the sacraments administered in their 

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purity, to the exclusion of idolatrous ceremonies, 
such as the mass, calling upon the saints, sacrifices 
for the dead, and the like, instructing the people, 
on the other hand, what the true service of (Jod is, 
how they should fear Him and love His word, and 
take consolation from the sacrifice of Christ the 
Saviour,— then indeed would they act in the spirit 
of Jesus, when He washed the feet of His disciples. 
But alas, such a spirit is not to be found in our 
bishops and rulers ; they rather meditate upon an 
increase of idolatry and false doctrines, and how 
they can soil the feet of their people still more. 
Surely, such conduct is against the command of our 
Lord. May God in mercy remedy the evil and stop 
the devil's work, who has made the people blind, 
and rules them as a tyrant does his slaves. 

The Papists call this ceremony of feet-washing 
by a Latin term which means a mandate, a com- 
mand. But Christ does not mean the outward act 
when He says : "Ye also ought to wash one an- 
other's feet;" for He immediately explains this in 
the words : "I have given you an example, that ye 
should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I 
say unto you, the servant is not greater than his 
lord." These words are plain enough. If we are 
honored on account of our position in life, we ought 
to remain humble and serve our inferiors with such 
gifts as they do not possess. In full accordance 
with this, the Lord afterwards gives His mandate 
concerning love when He says : "A new command- 
ment I give unto you, that you love one another." 
Now the true nature of love is humility and charity, 
kindness and compassion. When Christ commands 
the washing of feet, He requires the presence of 

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sAch a love. It is Evident that our Lord, by Ilia 
afction in the Gospel, did not intend to teach us the 
outward washing of feet, which is done by means 
of Water ; for then it would be obligatory to wash 
the feet of all; or rather, which would certainly be 
more serviceable, to prepare a regular bath for the 
people, in which they could wash their whole body. 
This of course cannot be the meaning of Christ's 
command in this regard. He simply gave us by 
His example an important lesson, that we should be 
humble, and properly employ the gifts and graces 
which we have, to the advantage of our brethren, 
and that we should despise no one, but rather ex- 
cuse the shortcomings of our fellow-men, and help 
them to become better. 

In this sense, washing of feet must be practiced 
not merely upon this day, but every day of our life, 
and we must not grow weary in well-doing towards 
our fellow-men. For such a purpose, and for such 
feet-wa9hing, Christ set us the example which we 
are now considering. Let us remember this. 

Those whom God has endowed with much wis- 
dom and honor, and who are called to the office of 
the ministry, should be especially intent on prac- 
ticing zealously this feet-washing, that they may 
not become guilty of abusing the gifts and authori- 
ty which they have, but employ them faithfully to 
the service and welfare of the Church. For if our 
Lord and Saviour, who well knew that the time of 
exaltation into His eternal kingdom of majesty and 
grace was approaching, yet humbled Himself so 
low that in obedience to His Father's will He gave 
Himself for us into death, even the death of the 
cross, how much rather do we poor creatures need 

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such humiliation, we who are tempted by the devil 
day and night, and who are in constant danger of 
falling into the meshes of pride, avarice and self- 
esteem ! The devil knows full well that he has 
gained the field, and is not injured by all our preach- 
ing, if we as servants of the Church forget the com- 
mand of Christ to be humble, and if we seek after 
temporal honor and authority. 

The Pope's example verifies this assertion. As 
soon as he turned his attention to the obtainment 
of worldly glory and power, and began to neglect 
his spiritual charge, so soon did the Church decay. 
Secular matters claimed the attention of the Pope, 
to the exclusion of the true welfare of the Church. 
The devil succeeded in setting aside the word of 
God and the true worship, substituting therefor 
falsehoods and idolatries, which were very lucrative 
and conducive to the aggrandizement of the priest- 

I believe that Christ, when he exhibited such 
humility in washing the feet of His disciples, had 
in mind the great corruption which, on account 
of the selfishness and pride of the clergy, would 
creep into His Church in later years. This great 
evil began to manifest itself soon after ; the bishops 
wrangled with each other about their relative su- 
periority, and were so at variance with each other 
that finally Antichrist established himself at Home, 
and arrogated such supremacy to himself that he 
not only ruled the Church, but also kings and em- 
perors, and made himself successor of St. Peter 
and vicar of Christ on earth. This I call a fine way 
of being humble and of washing feet, after the -ex- 

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ample which our Lord has given us. Yes, great 
humility, forsooth ! 

It was so even then. Judas was not affected by 
the ceremony of feet-washing, nor by the solemn 
words of Christ ; he meditated all the while how he 
could betray his Master and get the thirty pieces of 
silver. The Lord knew this, and was sad on account 
of such depravity, as the Evangelist tells us. He 
well knew that Judas was not the only miscreant 
in this respect, but that he would have a great mul-i 
titude of followers, who would all be ready to be- 
tray and d r eny their Lord, if they could thereby but 
obtain the coveted pieces of silver. The knowledge 
of this fact causes sorrow and pain to the Saviour. 
He is filled with love and compassion towards all, 
and is ready to sacrifice His own life for their eter- 
nal, happiness, and yet Judas and his horde of dis- 
ciples care naught for this. They confess that Christ 
was meek and lowly, that especially by the act of 
feet-washing He showed His humility and love, 
but still they will not do as He did ; they are proud 
or account of their station and title in the Church ; 
because they are called Pope, cardinals and bish- 
ops they make themselves lords and arrogate to 
themselves homage frOtn their fellow-men. They 
would rather betray and deny Christ a hundred 
times than to renounce a particle of their authority 
find glory ; it matters little to them if God's word 
is trampled under foot and souls perish, so they only 
get wealth and gjory among men. The Pope with 
his fellows is ever busy to crush the pure doctrine 
and to confirm the former idolatry, which was so 
greatly conducive to his self-aggrandizement and 

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We ought not to be such disciples of Judas, but 
should ever remember that we are not preachers or 
officers of the Church to show, our dignity and to be 
great lords, but to do our duty faithfully and hum- 
bly for the welfare of the Church. Thus will 
we benefit our fellow-men with the gifts which we 
have, and will be engaged in the proper feet-wash- 
ing ; we will also, in this way, fulfill the command 
of Christ to His pleasure and honor, and will be 
enabled to resist more successfully the wiles and 
snares of the evil one. 

The devil makes it his especial aim to render 
preachers and those engaged in the service of the 
Church proud and selfish ; and if he is successful in 
this attempt, he has won the contest. They will 
then be so engaged in temporal matters that Christ, 
His word, His Church, and their pastoral office, 
will become of secondary importance to them, or will, 
perhaps, be entirely forgotten. Examples of such 
men are plenty, even now. 

Let no one think himself exempt from such 
temptation, but rather practice more zealously than 
before the virtue of feet-washing. Even St. Paul 
says : "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, 
the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should 
be axalted above measure." If it was so with the 
Apostle, how much more are we poor Christians, 
to whom God has given such high offices, in danger 
of self-exaltation ! Let us take care, therefore, and 
employ well the various talents which God has 
granted us ; let us exercise pure humility, imitating 
Christ who, with towel in hand, arises from the 
table to wash the feet of others, who thinks not first 

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of Himself, but how He may be of service to His 

We are therefore justified in applying this inci- 
dent of our text chiefly to those who occupy posi* 
tions of an official kind in the Church, instructing 
them how sedulously to perform their duties, and 
how important it is for them to remain in a state of 
humility. God called thent into their various of- 
fices, not on their own account, but to benefit their 
fellow-Christians. It is their duty faithful ly to serve 
their brethren, and not to complain if their task is 
perilous and hard. 

But all Christians, no matter what their position 
in life is. should have this spirit of humility. Kings 
and emperors, though their office is of a secular 
kind, if they are true Christians, must wash the 
feet of their people. God did not give them such 
a high position to live in luxury, lasciviousness and 
lawlessness, but to make use of their talents for the 
benefit of their subjects. They should see to it, 
first of all, that the word of God is preached in their 
land by faithful ministers, and that idolatry and 
disturbances of the true worship of God are not al- 
lowed. They are accountable to God for the per- 
formance of this duty, and cannot expect the divine 
blessing to rest upon them or their children, unless 
they are faithful to thfcir trust. How could God be 
a friend and ally of those who care nothing for His 
Tfrord, or who force their people into public idolatry 
and into false devotions? 

Again, this' feet-washing inculcates earnestness, 
trustworthiness and zeal in the administration of 
temporal governments. Rulers must not revel day 
find night, indulge in the chase and in sports, and 

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inconsiderately oppress the people; it is, on the 
contrary, their duty to promote peace and happiness 
throughout the land, to defend the inhabitants 
against domestic and foreign enemies, and to enforce 
equal rights to all. If kings and rulers would only 
practice this kind of feet- washing, it would keep 
them busy, not alone on this festive Thursday, but 
through the entire year; yea, it should Keep them 
awake many & gftight, when others rest, who have 
not so great a responsibility upon themselves. 
They must attend to the affairs of Church and State, 
and thus have their hands more than full, if they 
wish to do their part assiduously and well. 

But what we said above in regard to Judas and 
the Pope is also true in this connection* The real, 
feet-washing is generally neglected, that is, the 
rulers disregard the true welfare of their people, and 
think they can satisfy them with feasts and publio 
demonstrations, which however avail nothing. It 
is no great thing to wash one's own feet or those of 
a friend ; but to enforce justice, to defend the truth 
in doctrine and publio worship, is not every one's 
business, nor is every one capable of doing it, but 
only they whom God has called to such important 

In the lower vocations of life the same practice 
ought to prevail. The master and the mistress of a 
family wash the feet ot their children and servants, 
if they treat them kindly and attentively, and if 
they bring them up in the fear of God and ready to 
do His will. Husband and wife wash each other's 
feet if they exercise a forbearing spirit towards each 
other, avoiding anger and inconsiderate scolding. 
Servants wash the feet of their employers if they 

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are pious, honest, diligent and .obedient, and if they 
receive even reprimands in a spirit of meekness, 
knowing that in the end they are benefited thereby. 

In short, if you enjoy a peculiar blessing and gift, 
which your fellow-man has not, employ these to his 
benefit, no matter who you are or what your position 
in life may be. Be not arrogant, and despise not 
him who is less gifted than- you aj§. This is the 
proper feet-washing which God cotttanded us to 
observe. T* 

It is true, and you will find that it is, such feet- 
washing is not as easy as that sham observance of 
the custom, in which an abbot or a prior washes 
the feet of his monks, or in which a bishop performs 
this task for his chapter. There is no real humility 
in these cases ; for they who wash the others seek 
their own honor thereby, and expect still greater 
homage from the recipients of their condescension. 
You must perform this task in a different sense and 
manner, by humbling yourself in such a way as to 
be ever ready to assist others who have not the gifts 
which you have. This will demand a precious vic- 
tory over the old Adam within us, who seeks his 
own honor and exaltation, and is always more pre- 
pared to exercise vengeance and oppression than to 
do good toward others. 

Again, we must understand by the term "feet- 

j washing" a disposition which not only willingly 

i serves others in a humble spirit, but which is also 

ready to forgive the failings of the brethren, as 

St. Paul says: "Bear ye one another's burdens/' 

.For it is simply a fact that in the wide world we 

tvill never find a Christian so blameless and perfect 

as to be entirely free from every fault and blemish. 

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Tb$ one gives way to anger, the other is despondent 
and morose, the third too boisterous and frivolous, 
the fourth too niggardly and close, the fifth too 
free and easy. In one word, as even the heathens 
remarked: Each one has his load which others 
must help to bear. 

We are often inclined to think: If only our 
neighbor had not this or that failing, we would 
gladly associate with him ; but his many faults seem 
to us insufferable and repulsive. Let us bear in 
mind, whenever we observe such shortcomings in 
our husband, wife, child, servants, neighbors and 
others, that we have an excellent occasion for feet- 
washing. Let us do it then ; that is, let us bear with 
mildness such infirmities, and seek to relieve others 
of them, always aware that this world is really a 
filthy cess-pool, which we cannot pass without soil- 
ing our feet. This happens to me and to you, and 
to every one. Should we therefore run away into 
deserts and solitudes, and associate with no one, as 
formerly the monks did ? No, it is a Christian duty 
to wash the feet of others, we must stay where they 
are. We must be among the people who wade 
through unclean, filthy places. We must unbend 
our proud reserve, and though our feet should be 
clean and pretty, it behooves us to carry water* rags, 
soap and brush to cleanse and wash the feet of those 
who need such ablution. 

To do this we must obey the word of the Apostle 
and "bear one another's burdens" ; we must right 
willingly assist the weak and needy, exercise pa- 
tience and compassion, give them our hand for a 
support* and instruct and guide them to a purer and 

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oetter life* If we are prudent, wise and learned, 
we ought therefore not to despise the simple and 
silly, but should so much the more exercise our 
«kill to help them and to improve their condition. 
If we are pious, chaste and temperate let us not 
judge others harshly who have not such virtues, but 
let us strive to turu them from their evil way and 
lead them to do what is right. If we have not the 
faults which we notice in our brother, let us thank 
God that it is so ; but at the same time we must not 
forget that we may have other failings which need 
patience and assistance from others. On the other 
hand, our neighbors have gifts with which they can 
help us in our infirmities ; and even if they should be 
unable to help us even in the least, they are still our 
neighbors, whom we should treat with Christian 
love, as God has commanded us. If we act thus, 
we may succeed in gaining him who otherwise is 
stubborn and perverse, unless he be like this Judas, 
so entirely possessed of the devil, that he will not 
heed our advances. Let harmony and friendship 
prevail among us as much as possible, and to this 
end let us exercise the spirit of humility. 

What a pleasant, quiet, Christian life we could 
lead, if we would only be ready ever to wash each 
other's feet ! The one would assist and defend the 
other ; we would all exercise patience and mildness 
and have no other aim but to make each other happy* 
Then might we be comforted by the assurance that 
we had, to some extent at least, complied with the 
command of Christ, and might appropriate the word 
of our Lord : "If ye know these things, happy are 
ye if ye do them." But if we are derelict in th$ 
performance of our duty in this regard, we will feel 

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a piercing sting in our hearts and be unhappy peo- 
ple, devoid of grace and joy. 

As we have said, this feet- washing is a bitter task 
for our old Adam. He desires the services of others, 
but will make no similar returns. He is also much 
offended if he finds no thanks for his favors. But 
we must continue the feet-washing, the well-doing 
toward others, though they prove ungrateful. To 
do this we need not only perseverance, but chiefly 
patience and humility, divine gifts which we must 
seek in earnest prayer. 

From this we learn what this feet-washing means ; 
it teaches an humble, friendly and Christ-like 
spirit,- which Christians should, under all circum- 
stances, manifest in their intercourse with each 
Other. The Lord desires to direct our thoughts to 
the necessity of humility and condescension ; there- 
fore He performed this ceremony of feet-washing 
shortly before H ; s death. No matter what our 
ability may be, we dare not boast on account of our 
great endowments, but must reason thus : By giv- 
ing us greater gifts than others, God meant that we 
should employ them in the service of others, and that 
we should cultivate so much the more a spirit of 
lowliness, and thrust the devil aside with his prompt- 
ings to pride and arrogance. If we yield to him 
and become filled with self-esteem, we are lost ; we 
are then no longer disciples of Jesus, but of Judas, 
as is the Pope and his crowd. 

The Lord, however, wishes to teach us, just here, 
another and more important lesson In regard to His 
person. When Peter refuses to be washed, Jesus 
answers him: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no 
part with me." In these words Christ refers not to 

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the external washing of the feet, hut to the washing 
from sin by His blood shed upon the cross, which 
washing still is efficacious among the believers in 
the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Such washing is 
no example ; for we can cleanse neither ourselves 
nor others from sin. The Son of God, the Lamb of 
God, who bore the sins of the world, can do it, and 
He alone. They who are washed of Christ confess 
that God in mercy, through His Son, pardoned and 
forgave their sins, ancb therefore they are ready to 
forgive the wrong which others may have done 
unto them, as Christ teaches Matt. 18, and as we 
pray in the Lord's Prayer : "Forgive us our trespass- 
es as we forgive those jrbo trespass against us.' 9 

It is therefore evident that we should practice 
this feet-washing during our whole life. Christ set 
us the example shortly before His death, and He did 
it through love of us, for He k?v3w how we must 
dwell in an unclean world. May God grant us His 
Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus His Son, that we may 
ever bear in mind this admonition, and may fashion 
our life accordingly. Amen. 


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Mn this season of the year it is customary for the 
Church, both in her hymns and sermons, to 
dwell especially upon the passion of Christ. We also 
will follow this custom. Indeed, we consider it very 
appropriate that the narrative of the sufferings of 
our Lord should, at a certain fixed period of the 
year, be read in the churches to the people, word for 
word, from beginning to end, and that it be fully 
explained to them, so that they may understand its 
use, and derive from it much consolation. It is 
sadly evident with what effect the devil resists the 
Gospel, though it be preached daily, and how the 
hearts grow cold towards it, so that they do not 
amend, but rather grow worse from year to year. 
This distressing fact ought surely to prompt us to 
continue in the preaching of the Word, and espe- 
cially of that part of it which tells of the suffering 
and death of Christ. We must endeavor to have 
the people know and appreciate this part of the 
Gospel ; nor dare we be derelict in the performance 
of this duty. If we would neglect to preach on this 
subject one, two or three years, the people would 
surely forget it. Even we, who continually busy 
ourselves with the Word, experience a decrease of 
interest in it if we neglect the perusal of it for a day 
or two ; how great then would be the injury to the 
people at large, if they should miss the preaching of 

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these truths for a year or two? They would 
become as wild as beasts; therefore it is so urgent 
that we preach and teach the Word in season and 
out of season. The devil is ever active in resisting 
the efficacy of the Word, else there would be many 
believers, and people would be converted; for sure- 
ly it is now preached often an# clearly. 

For the Papists this week Jl one of torture ; they 
sing and read and preach exceedingly much concern- 
ing the passion of Christ. But what does it avail 
them ? It is true, they speak of Christ's sufferings ; 
but in their heart there is no thought of them, or 
else they would not prize so highly their own self- 
inflicted penances and their own works. But it is 
not much better with us, who have the pure Gospel 
abundantly preached to us; our lives and deeds 
indicate that we also have disregarded it. The 
effects of the preaching of the Word are therefore 
not the same with all, inasmuch as not all are dis- 
posed to receive it. If we were to relate to the 
people some idle tales and stories, they would re- 
member them at once; whereas now, thousands 
upon thousands hear repeatedly the preaching of the 
Gospel without retaining it, and without profiting 
by its instructions. They come back from 
church just as they went there. They hear the 
Word, but disregard it as something common and 

There are some, on the other hand, who hear it 
gladly when they are told Christ rendered satisfac- 
tion for us, and that by our own merits and works 
we cannot obtain salvation, but that Christ alone 
has purchased it for us by His sufferings and death ; 
but as soon as they are told that to enjoy the bene- 

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fits of this atonement they must avoid avarice, 
worldly-mindedness, gluttony, self-esteem, 4c, they 
are displeased and become enraged. They are un- 
willing to be rebuked on account of their sins, or 
to be regarded as Gentiles. Here, also, it is the 
devil who labors to make the Word of no effect, and 
we cannot expect any thing else but such aversion 
to the application of the truth. It behooves us so 
much the more, to continue steadfast in the Word, 
to the glory of Qod and to our own souls' salva- 
tion, that some may learn to love it, although many 
are indifferent, and that thus the sacrifice of the 
Son of God in our behalf may be known and re- 

The preaching of this truth began in Paradise, 
when it was said to Adam and Eve that the seed of 
the woman should crush the head of the serpent. 
The Church has retained the proclamation of this 
Gospel, and will retain it until the end of time. 
Nor can we perform any better service than to pro- 
claim everywhere, in the church, from the pulpit 
and at home, this fact of the sacrifice of God for the 
redemption of all mankind. 

As Israel was heavily burdened with the ceremo- 
nial law, and was compelled to sacrifice calves, heif- 
ers, &c, thus the papacy still conducts its divine 
worship. If we had to observe all those ceremonies 
and defray all the expenses incident to them, I fear 
there would be many complaints of insufferable 
burdens. But not much is required of us : only this 
pleasing service, that we should remember His 
boundless mercy, manifested in the sacrifice of His 
Son for our sins, and that we should preach this 
and teach it to our children. Let us thank God if 

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we can enjoy such divine service, which surely will 
not be useless, but will rather bring forth glorious 
fruits and many blessings unto men. 

The Turks have lost this kind of worship; they 
have forgotten Christ and substituted Mahomet in 
His place. The Jews have also rejected Him. Nor 
is it much better in Germany, where people have 
become weary of this worship and neglect it. But 
we may depend upon it that as soon as this true 
worship is lost, so soon will punishment follow. 
If we refuse to worship God, when we need only to 
hear a sermon which tells us of the suffering and 
death of Christ for us, we need look for nothing 
else but that, as a well merited penalty, another 
more severe, and withal an ineffective kind of 
worship will be imposed upon us. Therefore we 
ought to preach and hear, right willingly, of the 
passion of our Lord, so that we may never forget 
its blessings, even though Satan, the old enemy of 
truth, may busily attempt to resist and crush the 

But again, our own wants require that this be 
done. As long as we live in this world our flesh 
and blood will burden us, even as would the weight 
of a millstone. On every side we are subjected to 
temptations whieh take possession of our thoughts 
and time, so that we forget Christ and His suffer- 
ings ; earthly possessions, worldly honor, food, drink, 
carnal indulgences, misfortunes, sickuess and 
adversity are all, more or less, apt to have such an 
effect upon us. Hence it is necessary to set apart 
an especial season for the service of God. The 
devil is ever on the alert to insinuate all kinds of 
wickedness into our hearts, and would fain make 

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them as cold as ice. Where God's Word is not re- 
peatedly proclaimed in sermons, in hymns, in private 
conversation, so that we may not forget it or 
become callous towards it, there it is impossible for 
our hearts, which are burdened with many an earth- 
ly pain and sorrow, with wicked purposes and the 
devil's malicious instigations, not to fail and to fall 
from Christ. Thus it is an urgent necessity that 
the preaching of the Gospel continue among us, 
that we may hear and retain it, otherwise we would 
soon forget our Lord. 

Nor should we overlook the wants of our young 
people, who need instruction so much ; and many 
mechanics, laborers, and servants, who are Chris- 
tians by baptism, cannot even read. Much zeal and 
energy is needed, that these people may be taught 
that which they know not, but which is so im- 
portant to their welfare. God cannot be satisfied 
with us, if we disregard the precious treasure which 
He has given us ; if we, perhaps, hear the preaching 
of the Word and gape at it without learning any- 
thing. Nor will the devil desist from his attempts 
to cause us to do what is evil. If we will not hear, 
nor learn, nor remember the word of truth, we will 
be condemned to listen to and heed the falsehoods 
of the devil, unto our souls' eternal damnation. 
The Papists, the Turks, the Jews, and Anabaptists 
are examples of this. Let us, therefore, never grow 
weary of the proper worship of God ; let us readily 
hear and heed the sermons preached on the passion 
of Christ. 

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introductory meditations. 47 

The Benefits accruing from the Passion of Christ. 

Of these St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, 
5 chap., thus writes : "But God commendeth His 
love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, 
Christ died for us. Much more then, being now 
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath 
through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we 
were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, 
much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by 
His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have 
now received the atonement.' ' 

To preach the passion of Christ our Lord properly, 
it is not sufficient to read the narrative to the people, 
but we must add admonition and instruction,that they 
may realize and remember why Christ suffered thus, 
and in what way they are benefited by His passion. 
The method pursued by the Papists, especially bj 
the monks, in presenting this truth, and which was 
only calculated to arouse the emotions of the people 
and to fill them with pity and lamentation, must be 
rejected as utterly useless. He who could stir up 
the emotions of people best was considered the most 
effective passion-preacher. Hence we find in those 
sermons principally railing against the Jews, de- 
scriptions of the lamentation of the Virgin Mary 
when she saw the death of her Son, and the like. 
All this, however, is nothing but hypocrisy, as real- 
ly all worship in the papacy is ; the true spirit of 
devotion is wanting, and there are no fruits of 
amendment there. If we attentively consider the 
preaching of the apostles and prophets, we shall 
find a totally different method of preaching on the 

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passion of our Lord. They did not waste words on 
the simple story of the event, but presented it 
unadorned, pointedly and briefly. But of the 
meaning of this passion, and how it is effective for 
us if properly applied, — of this they spake repeated- 
ly and mueh. 

It w*s indeed a short sermon, if merely the words 
are counted, when John spake of Christ : "Behold 
the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the 
world ;" but if we carefully meditate upon these 
words, we will discover how much they contain for 
our edification and comfort, if we but receive them 
in true faith. 

John calls the Lord a "Lamb," because He was 
to be slain, even as a victim is slain. All the sacri- 
fices of heifers, oxen, calves and lambs, which took 
place under the Old Testament, were but types of 
that perfect and only efficient sacrifice, which Christ 
our Saviour offered to redeem the whole world 
through His own blood. To this the Evangelist re- 
fers in the above words, in which he dwells but 
incidentally upon the narrative of the passion itself. 
He calls Christ not merely a lamb, but "the Lamb 
of God," to express thereby the truth that God 
Himself had instituted this sacrifice, and would be 
well pleased with it. This expression, "Lamb of 
God," is further intended to arouse our faith to accept 
such a sacrifice, which God in His infinite mercy and 
love has made for our salvation. Tea, by it we are 
to be convinced that because God Himself ordained 
this sacrifice, it is really perfect and all-sufficient to 
accomplish what these words say, "namely, to take 
away the sin of the world. In this expression, 
"sin of the world," is included all impiety and in- 

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justice which prevail in the world, and which cause 
the dreadful, but just wrath of God. Now all this 
wrong God has in mercy taken from the world, and 
has imposed it upon His Son, who paid our debt for 
us, that we might be exempt from fear and punish- 

We learn from this example how to preach 
rightly on the passion of Christ. We should not 
dwell chiefly upon the historical incidents connected 
with it, such as the betrayal, the scourging, the 
mockery, and the crucifixion of Christ ; all this we 
ought to know and to preach ; but this is not the 
most important lesson of the passion of Christ. 
Above all we must know and believe, as John 
preaches, that Christ suffered on account of our sins, 
which God cast upon Him, and which He bore in 
obedience to His Father's will and from love 
toward us. If we know this ; if we understand our 
sinful condition, which would have plunged us 
without escape into eternal damnation, had not 
Christ become our Saviour, we will duly appreciate . 
the importance and value of the suffering of our 
Lord, and will be comforted thereby when fear of 
God's wrath, on account of our sins, would over- 
come us. Such a consideration of the passion of 
Christ will not only move our eyes to tears and our 
hearts to pity, as is the tendency of the popish ser- 
mons on this subject, but will prompt us to feel, 
deep down in our soul, sorrow at the terrible results 
of sin, for which no creature, but only the Son of 
God could make atonement by His sufferings and 
death; and likewise it will cause us great joy, 
because we will realize that this sacrifice was made 
for us, that <God will now no longer reject nor con- 

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demn us, aB we have merited by our sins, but that 
He is now reconciled to us through the precious and 
vicarious death of His Son, who gave Himself as a 
victim in our behalf, so that our sins are now for- 
given and we are made heirs of eternal life. 

The Papists never preached thus of the passion of 
Christ. They also used the words "Lamb of God" 
as applied to Christ who took away the sin of the 
world, but their whole worship was arranged as if 
e&ch individual had to bear his own sin and must 
make atonement for it himself. How else can w$ 
understand the stringent regulation in the Romish 
Church, especially in this season of the year, in re- 
gard to fastings, penances, self-inflicted tortureft and 
other severe and burdensome works ? Why were 
people so much in terror in regard to the minute, 
outward confession of their sins ? Why did they 
bury themselves day and night in the churches and 
chapels, engaging in song and prayers ? Wad it not 
because they supposed that by such doings and ob- 
servances they could and must work out forgiveness 
of their sins ? Such doings mean in reality that we 
cannot rely, fully and solely, upon the sacrifice of 
Christ as all-sufficient and effective, and that We 
must with our own work complete the sacrifice and 
the atonement. 

This contradicts directly the statement of John 
the Baptist, yea of Christ Himself, when in John 
12. He thus speaks of His sufferings : "The hour is 
come that the Son of man should be glorified. 
Verily, verily, I say uuto you, except a cdrh of 
wheat fall into the ground And die, it abideth alone: 
but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." In these 
words Christ declares that His sufferings shall abound - 

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h* touch fruit. It would be erroneous to dlahh tliat 
&e Christian must first of all bring forth good 
#orks, erven as the branch and the vine bringeth 
forth grapes; this would indeed be one of the fruits 
df Union with Christ through faith, but the most 
important frttit is indicated in the words of the 
Lord Himself when He says: "And I, if I be lifted 
up frbih the earth, will draw all men unto me;" that 
ft, through ihe, through my sacrifice, through my 
death upon the cross, men must come to the Father 
and receive eternal life. They who rely on their 
own #orks, and desire by means of them to enter 
heaven, pervert the plan of salvation ; they draw 
Christ down to them, whereas the reverse' should 
take place: Christ must draw us to Him, or every- 
thing is lost. He alone has vanquished the devil, 
piaid tie |>enalty of our sins, rescued us from the 
World and death, and brought us to life through His 
sufferings and death. To all this we contributed 

Again, Jofcfc 8. chapter, Christ preaches 6f Hi* 
passion hr this wise: "And as Moses lifted up the 
Serpent in the wilderness^ even so must the Son of 
man be lifted up : that whosoever beKevetb in Him 
rfhould not perish, but have eternal life." This is 
dufBcientfy plain. Whosoever desires to have eter* 
nal life, must obtain it through faith in Christ and 
6hr dearth Upon the cross, Wherewith He made pay- 
ment fb* Our sins and redeemed us frtfm death and 
hell. Ill the trordef just cited, Christ mentions no 
wotfc df man as efficient unto justification; He says' 
nothing df alms, fastings and the like. The re* 
quirement of deeds came already through Moses, 
and hi th* ten commandments God laid down the 

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rules of conduct to be observed by us, and whoso- 
ever disregards them may expect the wrath of God 
and His punishments. He, however, who keeps 
the law, and fulfills its demands as much as he can, 
does not on that account get to heaven. There was 
no other remedy for the Jews in the wilderness, 
when bitten by the fiery serpents, but to look up to 
the brazen serpent which God had ordered to be 
made. In like manner, as Christ indicates in thin 
passage, there is no other way unto salvation but 
faithfully to look unto Him who sacrificed Himself, 
according to the will of God, for our sins, and 
through whom we now have pardon and eternal 
life. Such a glorious result has the death of Christ ; 
our works do not accomplish it, as the Papists 
falsely teach ; they have nothing to do with it. 

The prophets also frequently speak similar words. 
Thus Isaiah, 63. chapter, says: "Surely he hath 
borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we 
did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and 
afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgres- 
sions, He was bruised for our iniquities : the chas- 
tisement of our peace was upon Him ; and with His 
stripes we are healed." Surely, this is a most 
charming and comfortable passion-sermon, yea no 
apostle in the New Testament could preach one to 
surpass it. The prophet declares that Christ shall 
be stricken, smitten and afflicted in our behalf, and 
also that the chastisement of our peace shall be 
upon Him, and that with His stripes we are to be 
healed. Isaiah calls the Lord a physician, and 
directs us to Him to be healed in our distress and 
sickness, so that we may % obtain health and happi- 
ness. The Lord has a remedy for us which is not 

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labeled good works, giving of alms, fastings and 
rosaries, bat consists of the fact that He suffered 
and died for us, yea, that He bore our griefs and 
carried our sorrows. If therefore the history of the 
passion tells us how our blessed Lord and Saviour 
was tortured by the Jews and the Gentiles, we 
ought to be mindful that all this happened that we, 
even we, might have a cure, not from bodily in- 
firmities, but from a sickness more dreadful than 
all the rest, namely, from sin and eternal death. 
Thus the history of the passion will be applied by 
us properly and happily. It must, however, be 
borne in mind that the passion of Christ is in two 
ways a precious and sure remedy. It exhibits, in 
the first place, sin in all its ugliness and terror ; no 
human being, not an angel, nor any other created 
being, had the power to take away sin ; the Son of 
God alone could do it, and He did carry this crush- 
ing weight for us. We should therefore carefully 
and earnestly endeavor to avoid sin, in the fear of 
God, for it is so very easy to fall into it, and so 
very difficult to get out of it again. In this endeav- 
or we will be mightily assisted by the consideration 
of the passion of Christ, which will prompt us, as a 
precious power against sin, to be pious and to shun 
evil, since it is such a terrible and dreadful burden, 
which no created being can remove, and which the 
Son of God had to carry for us. In the second 
place, we find in the passion of Christ a rescue from 
death; for he who fully believes that the Son of 
God died for his sins and paid his debt before God, 
can have a peaceful heart and need not fear death, 
but will trust in the mercy of God and hope for 
eternal salvation. Of this consolation the prophet 

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prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn 
you to the stronghold ye prisoners of hope," Ac. 
The pit, the prison-house of men, is sin and its 
punishments, namely, the tyranny of the devil and 
eternal death. From this pit we could not rescue 
ourselves unless by the help of God ; not through 
the blood of heifers and similar victims, but only 
through the blood of the just One, the King of 
Salvation. He who is not in >the covenant of this 
blood must remain in the pit of «n and eternal 
death, while he who is enrolled in it through faith 
shall surely come out from this pit of wrath to the 
enjoyment of the mercy of God and unto eternal 

Daniel also preaches of this, in the 9. chapter : 
•"Seventy weeks are determined upon Thy people 
and upon Thy holy city, to finish the transgression, 
and to make an end of sin, and to make reconcilia- 
tion for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting right- 
eousness," 4c. How this should be fulfilled in the 
death of Christ, the prophet soon after indicates. 
This is another clear and definite declaration of the 
truth, that forgiveness of sins and justification can 
be obtained only through the death of Jesus Christ; 
through it, if we accept it in faith, we have thip 
precious treasure, and in no other way can we ob- 
tain it. Thus we can learn from John the Baptist, 
from Christ Himself, and from the prophets, how 
&o preach of the passion of our Lord, namely, to 
instruct the hearts as to the mercy and grace of 
God, that they may be comforted thereby. Christ 
suffered for the payment of our sins, to reconcile us 
to God, and to save us through faith in Him as our 
lord and Saviour. 

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The holy Apostles preached the same truth con* 
cerning the passion of Christ, as we can easily read 
in their narratives and writings. Of the many pas- 
sages bearing upon this point we will now, in con- 
clusion, notice but the one taken from Romans 5. 
chapter, as you, my beloved, have heard it in the 
beginning of this discourse. This passage is suffi- 
ciently plain, so that all can understand it. Never- 
theless we will now dwell upon it somewhat, to our 
instruction, edification and comfort. 

We all experience how deeply unbelief is rooted 
in our hearts, so that we are ever troubled by our 
sins, and lack all assurance and peace. We are so 
ready to exclaim : Ah, if we were only more pious, 
it would be better for us, and we could then hope 
for the mercy of God. Where the heart thus wavers, 
there is surely trepidation and uneasiness. But if 
we firmly believe, and rely on the mercy of God, 
which tie has promised in Christ, our hearts will 
be securely stayed in all adversities upon this con- 
solatiou, and will indeed be happy and of good 

People, however, are perverse in this. The Pope 
has therefore established all manner of worship, by 
means of which, as he pretends, confidence in God 
and reliance on His help can be gained. Some of 
these inventions are worship of the saints, pilgrim- 
ages, the purchase of indulgences, the mass, vigils, 
monastic life, and other similar delusions. Such 
observances are regarded as guarantees of a renewed 
life and of heaven. This is indeed a deep-rooted 
delusion, and an earnest preacher of the truth will 
direct his efforts chiefly against it, to tear from the 

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hearts of the people, by the grace of God, this 
wicked unbelief and to instill into them true confi- 
dence and faith. How to do this properly, and with 
success, St. Paul teaches us in the passage under 
consideration ; and, surely, his testimony is of great 
w eight, as of one who was a great preacher, chosen 
a id called of God Himself as a giant in the work of 
spreading the Gospel. We ought, therefore, attent- 
ively to heed his words. 

He begins with the remark : "God commendeth 
his love toward us," which is indeed a peculiar and 
astonishing saying, but nevertheless, as we shall 
presently hear, a remarkable, precious truth. God, 
it is true, is the declared enemy of sin, and will 
punish it, as the law demands and as our daily ex- 
perience proves. Again, it is true that we are all 
sinners, and this knowledge causes our unbelief of 
the mercy and love of God. When told, as in the 
passage before us, that God loves man, we think 
immediately of John the Baptist, of Peter, of Paul 
and others, who were so much more pious than we, 
and are ready to admit that God may love such as 
these, but we deny that we are such people as He 
can love, and therefore continue in fear of His 
wrath. Against this misconception the Apostle 
directs his words when he says that God doth not 
only love us, but that He even commendeth His 
love toward us ; that is, God makes it so manifest, 
so sure and evident that He loves us, that no man 
can doubt it. What else but love could prompt 
Him to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, 
into this world, to die for us while we were yet 
shiners? When therefore sin and doubt torment 

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us, and would rob us of confidence in God's mercy 
and pardon, let us firmly hold to the eternal truth 
of this word : "While we were yet sinners Christ 
died for us." Who is Christ? He is the Son of 
God. What does He do? He becomes man and 
dies. Why does He die ? On account of sinners. 
From this it clearly follows that God has not re- 
jected sinners, and that He desires not their destruc- 
tion, but that He loves them still, even so much 
that He rescues them from sin and death. For 
their sake His dear Son goes into death by the will 
of the Father. What better proof of His love could 
He have given ? Surely, St. Paul has good author- 
ity for exclaiming: "God commendeth His love 
toward us ;" and it behooves us to confess the pre- 
cious, inexhaustible grace of God in Christ, and to 
believe that He is no longer wroth with us. Indeed, 
it would be utter madness to say that God will cast 
us away in anger, when it is evident that He gave 
His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for us wicked 
and forlorn men, that we might be redeemed, and 
have salvation evermore. 

These words of St. Paul agree fully with the say- 
ing of Christ, John 3: "For God so loved the 
world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." How can one, who knows 
and believes that God loves him, be afraid of Him ? 
For we all know what the character of love is. It 
is not contentious nor injurious, but trusts in Him, 
to whom it is directed, convinced that He will bring 
help and assistance. It is impossible to be other- 
wise. We should therefore cultivate this love, and 

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fondly cherish it, nor permit Any one or any thing 
to rob \xa of it. It is the devil's especial aim to 
persuade or force us from this conviction that God 
loves us ; he would fain have us fear God and regard 
Him as our deadly enemy. Where he su<?ceeds in 
this attempt he has won the field. If we have lost 
our confidence in God, what then can defend or 
.support us? Let us therefore resolutely repel all 
sucjh insinuations of the devil, of sin and our eoft- 
jscience, as if God did not love us, but let us firmly 
hold to the eternal truth and consolation that, as an 
assurance of His love, God sent His Son into thip 
world to die for us sinners — to save us even while 
we were yet sinpers. What else is this but 4 proof 
that God has thoughts of mercy toward sinners, 
that He loves them and,wouUi help them frojn their 
misery? This consolation we derive, as St. Paul 
here tells us, from the de^th and passion' of Christ, 
and we ri^Piuld hp comforted thereby. WJheu the 
knowledge of our $ius depresses us, ivhen our hpait 
would questiou the mercy and favor of God, we 
should be quick to conclude that He cannot be our 
enemy, since He gave us His only begotten Son as 
a Saviour. Hence we dare assuredly depend upon 
His mercy and help, and have no cause of fear or 

But perhaps you will say : we know yve\\ enough 
;that God gpw# .JJis Son into death in pur l?ehal£ 
yet we, on omr part, baye by many transgressions 
and sins proved ourselves totally unworthy of this 
His grace and mercy ; from which it follows that 
God has again become our enemy on account of our 
crimes, though He may formerly have lqvpd up ior 

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His Soil's. sake. St. Paul tells us that such reason- 
ing is false, and that we should by no means give 
way to it, for he distinctly declares: "Christ died 
for us while we were yet sinners." Remember this, 
and be comforted by it. These words give us the 
explicit assurance, when our sins accuse us and 
threaten us with God's wrath and dire punishment, 
that Christ died for no other purpose than to 
save sinners, and for no other persons. If, therefore! 
we commit new sins, if our conscience accuses us, 
and if we have merited anew the vengeance of God, 
we ought ever to remember that Christ died for us 
as sinners, — for just such sinners as we are, and shall 
remain, though we may constantly exercise peni- 
tence and faith and new obedience with a good 
conscience. Tea, though we be ever so saintly, we 
will always need this consolation, that Christ died 
for us sinners, as St. Paul says : "Though I know 
of no sin, i am therefore not justified ; w and the 
Psalmist, Psalm 143: "Enter not into judgment 
with Thy servant : for in Thy sight shall no man 
living be justified." It therefore remains a fixed 
fact, eternally unalterable, that the passion and 
death of Christ took place for our sin, no matter 
when committed, and while we were yet sinners, 
and that therefore we are freed from the 
wrath of God, that we have forgiveness, that the 
atonement is made once for $11, and that we can 
now obtain eternal life. 

St. Paul continues : If God no lqved us that He 
justified us through His blood, and if we earnestly 
believe that our sins are forgiven for His spke and 
that we are now pleasing in His sight, we ought to 

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take comfort and rest assured that God will con- 
tinue to be merciful unto us, and will save us in the 
end in heaven. He not only sacrificed Himself for 
us, but His life and victory are ours also. 

The Apostle, when he spake these words, had in 
mind this severe tribulation, even of the pious, when 
they anxiously fear the wrath of God. He would 
fain give comfort by the assurance that God has 
averted His anger, and has employed mercy and 
grace toward us, even while we were yet sinners. 
If He did this then, how much less will He be 
wroth with us now after the redemption from sins 
by the death of His Son ! This is surely a most 
effective sermon, preached against the unbelief 
which is so prone to nestle in our hearts. But Paul 
is not content with this assurance ; he speaks of a 
still greater and more preeious consolation to be 
derived from the death of Christ. He says : "For 
if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to 
God by the death of His Son, much more, being 
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Would 
to God that we might have this comfortable assur- 
ance firmly rooted in our hearts. It is indeed an 
inexpressible deed of mercy that Christ died for 
sinners; for by His death we are redeemed. If 
now His death benefits us so much, should we not 
also enjoy blessings from His life? If He died in 
our behalf, and if His death is our gain, we can un- 
hesitatingly rely upon it that His life now will also 
be of benefit unto us : He will keep us by His grace, 
and will defend us from the devil and the world, so 
that our faith may increase from day to day. Ac- 
cordingly we see, to our edification and consolation, 

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the Apostles directing oar attention repeatedly to 
the joyous resurrection of our Lord Jesus. He who 
thus liveth after He died for us, will surely attend 
to our wants now, and will protect us in the true 
faith against all temptation. The Apostle would 
therefore encourage us in these words against all 
doubts and weakness of faith ; he would tell us to 
put aside all terror of the wrath of God and of death, 
since our Father in heaven has so clearly commended 
His love toward us in giving His Son for us into 
death while we were yet sinners. If He did not 
spare this His most precious gift while we were yet 
in sin, He will surely bestow all blessings upon us 
now, since we have been cleansed from sin by the 
death of Christ. 

Through Him and in His life we can have the 
power necessary to conquer death and hell ; there- 
fore we rejoice and trust in God, who loved us so 
exceedingly while we were yet sinners; yea, we 
know that for the sake of Christ, His Son, He will 
support us in our tribulations, and grant unto us in 
the end eternal life. Such a faith, and such confi- 
dence, is the Christian's true worship ; we should 
therefore diligently seek it, pray for it, and retain 
it in our hearts. The Apostle Paul now concludes 
his exhortation to be of good cheer with these 
words: "We also joy in God through our Lord 
Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the 

He declares that we have received the atonement 
through Christ. We, on account of our sins, dared 
not hope for mercy from God. Now this is changed. 
Out sins are removed by the death of Christ, and 

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we know that God no longer chides with u«; He is 
our Friend, yea, oar beloved Father. What theii 
ihust be the revolt of such reconciliation? This, 
that we rejoice at such a merciful and loving God— 
ft God who id the source of all love, whom we 
should praise, and upon whom our whole confidence 
in every need and sorrow should be placed. If we 
have God for a friend we heed fear no injury; 
nothing can then terrify or harm us. An atone- 
ment has been made for sin; God is satisfi e d with 
tre, and Christ our Mediator sits at the right hand 
of the Father. What matters it now if death doe* 
come and lay low our bodies, since we know that 
through Christ we shall rise again unto eternal 
life ? Hence the Christians ought ever to rejoice, 
no matter what their fortunes in life may be; 
tihough pain may af&ict their bodies, they can be 
glad in the spirit, and will praise their Father in 
heaven, upon whose lote and mercy they depend, 
and under whose protection t&ey are flecurte. Such 
a happy issue from ills we haV4 through the atone- 
ment made by the death of Christ. 

Hence we see what a horrible crime it is for th4 
Pope and his adherents to disregard this atonement, 
tod to direct the people to do good works and to 
depend ttptfti httman exertions and deeds in obtain- 
ing mercy at God And forgiveness 6t sins; Let uw 
thank God from the very bottom of our hearts that 
we have been set free from this bondage* of error f : 
and that we can learn from so many testimonies of 
ttie Old and of the New Testament how to regard, 
and apply the passion of Christ, so tbat We are en- 
abled to say, whenever sin acctfses : If w£ *f ei*e no 

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sinners, Christ need not have suffered for us, hut 
since He did suffer, we will derive all consolation 
from His passion. Thus will we honor God and 
give thanks unto Christ our Lord, We can make 
no other return but to accept with heartfelt grati- 
tude the precious gifts obtained by Hid passion and 

If we do this, it must follow, a* a seoessary con* 
&qtrence^ that we shun and hate sin, thai amid 
various trials, by constant practice, we increase 
from day to day in faith, in love, in hope, and in 
patience. May God bless us in this endeavor, 
through Christ Jesus our Lord* Amen! 

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The OccuRBEircjBs a* the Mount of Olives. 

Matth. 26, 36-46 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called 
Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and 
pray yonder. And He took with Rim Peter and the two sons of Zebe- 
dee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto 
them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry ye here, 
and watch with me. And He want a little further, and fell on His 
face, and prayed, saying, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass from me : nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And 
He coaieth unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto 
Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and 
pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, 
but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and 
prayed, saying, my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, 
except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He came and found tbem 
asleep again : for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went 
away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 
Then cometh He to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, 
and take your rest : behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man 
is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going : behold, 
he is at hand that doth betray me. 

shis is a beautiful narrative, and presents the 
Jtrue beginning of the sufferings of our Lord 
Jesus. It is profitable both for doctrine, showing 
how our Lord conducted Himself in His sufferings, 
and for consolation in the anguish of sin and an 
evil conscience. 

The scholastics disputed much and diffusely about 
the events here narrated. It is, indeed, no trifling 
matter that such great fear, trembling and anguish 
should take possession of this person, who is, at 
the same time, eternal God and true man. But let 
men dispute about this as much as they will, and 
let them be ever so penetrating and subtile, it can 

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TO&T PA3$I0*-S*&MQI. 45 

adver be fe*hoined ! Yen, it ia impossible to oom- 
prehend such grief and terror ; they are beyond the 
reach of our minds, and this simply because the 
peraw who sustains them is exalted far above all 
things. We must, therefore, be content with un- 
derstanding tho&$ inferior instances of sorrow or 
feltr which we actually see. Such instances we 
have in the ca^e of those poor wretches who are 
condemned to death for their crimes. Before these 
c$a become reconciled to their fate, they writhe in 
death's agony and struggle with death ; and, tome- 
times, they cannot endure such anguish, and are 
even overwhelmed with fear, so that they can 
^either hear nor see, and do not understand what is 
spoken to them nor what they tell others, but are 
unconscious and even grow stiffi like one who 
knoftrs neither where he is nor what ails him. 

But here we must rather consider those whose 
grief and anguish are so intense, that they fear and 
tremble on their account; whose hearts are so 
pierced with wretchedness a^nd terror that they 
would rather die than suffer them. Such excruci- 
ating pain is experienced by those hearts which 
wrestle witb the fear of God's wrath or the violent 
onslaughts of despair. We may be assured that 
such great grief au<J terror assaulted our Lord on 
this occasion, so that He stood trembling and quak- 
ing before His disciples, who were affrighted and 
could not conceive what had befallen Him. This 
ip beautifully indicated by Luk$ where he says that 
when the Lord "was come to His disciples, He 
fouu4 them sleeping for sorrow ;" and here by the 
Lord Himself in the wQrds : "My soul is exceeding 
sorrowful, even unto death," that is, I ana so full of 


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anguish, that I could die of agony. Ow thooghta 
cannot go beyond this ; for we know of no anguish 
that transcends such anguish unto death. But even 
the pangs of death cannot properly be compared 
with the agony of the Lord Jesus ; for His was of 
such exceeding violence that no human heart could 
have borne it. And for this very reason it declares 
Christ to have been true man, else it could not have 
affected Him, and true God, else He could not have 
borne and conquered it* Our flesh and Mood can 
not endure and conquer thus ; human nature, yea, 
even the nature of angels, is by far too feeble to 
hold out in such distress. For it was not the only 
sorrow of the Lord Jesus that the hour was now at 
hand, in which He should be betrayed by Judas, 
taken captive by the Jews, nailed to the cross by 
the Gentiles, and suffer death ; but that the sins of 
the whole world were upon Him, and that the 
death He was about to suffer was a death incurred 
by sin and the wrath of God, Since He became a 
substitute for us all, and took upon Himself our 
sins, that He might bear God's terrible wrath 
against sin and expiate our guilt, He necessarily 
felt the sin of the whole world, together with" the 
entire wrath of God, and afterwards the agony of 
death on account of this sin* This is the point 
which makes it evident that we can neither ade- 
quately speak of such sufferings and anguish, 
nor even meditate upon them. While each of us 
has merely his own sins upon him, Christ alone 
bears the sins of all the world and must atone for 
them with His death. How very insignificant, 
therefore, the agony of all other men ! The sins 
committed by the whole world, from the first man; 

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raw* PAH*)* Hsmumr. 97 

Adam, to the judgment-day, are placed upon that 
one man who was born ot the Virgin Mary, while 
our burden is so very trifling in comparison, and we 
still break down under it. 

But what is this sorrow, anguish and trembling 

of the Lord to teach us? What benefit are we to 

derive from His fear and lamentation, and from His 

public confession that His heart is so filled with 

misery that He would rather not live? It was 

stated above that His being terrified at death should 

teach us that He is a true, natural man, possessing 

flesh and blood like ours, and that He is altogether 

"ih us, but without sin. For it is an 

of our human nature to shudder at 

' death. But it is impossible that 

bal should be moved with fear as 

the Lord Jesus, because upon Him 

y of all mankind, and because for 

[e must suffer the death which is 

sins of the whole human family. 

rith the fact that He really did bear 

this excessively great burden without succumbing 

or perishing under it, proves most forcibly that He 

is also God, and more than a man. 

Therefore is this death-struggle a powerful weap- 
on which we wield against the heretics, who teach 
that Ghrist was not true God and true man.- For 
we Are compelled to confess that both natures of 
Christ here show themselves mightily ; that, while 
His sorrow and fear and His wrestling with death 
are a potent declaration of His true, natural human- 
ity, His divine power is proclaimed by His submis- 
sion to- the will of God, and by His conquering that 

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agony whiok would have overpowered all meo and 

all creatures. 

But this conflict with death, betides being usefol 
for doctrine and the strengthening of our faith, can 
be profitably employed by us in two other ways. 
Sin has so blinded and corrupted us poor mortals 
that we cannot sufficiently discern our own imper- 
fections, else we would diligently guard against 
transgressions; for we perceive in ourselves and 
others that we regard sin as but a trifling injury, 
yea, more, that we delight in it. He who becomes 
enslaved to pernicious avarice does not hesitate to 
take twelve or fourteen per cent., and would think 
himself very prosperous if he could obtain a great 
amount of such usury. Just so it is with him whom 
Satan makes a slave to debauchery; such a one 
regards himself most fortunate when he can satisfy 
his sensual desire, and the gratification of his evil 
passions is his only ambition. . This is the case too 
with other sins ; we rejoice over our imagined suc- 
cess in committing them. All this misery origin- 
ates in our not knowing what a dreadftil calamity 
sin really is. If we could only comprehend the 
wrath of Qod which is revealed against sin, and His 
judgment which awaits it, we would no longer de- 
sire and love sin, bnt would fear it and flee front it 
as though it were sudden death. 

This picture of our dear Lord's agony at the 
mount of Olives serves to furnish us with such 
knowledge and fear. For if we look carefully on 
this picture we shall behold an image of sin, at sight 
of which our hearts must recoil with horror. Only 
look earnestly at the person pictured hereJ He if 
the Son of God, — the everlasting Righteousness! 

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And although He assumed «si ftesh and blood, Hit 
flesh and blood is altogether sinless. Yet, since He 
took upon Himself foreign sin, namely that of all 
the world, in arete* to atone for it, this sin of others 
so affected Him, filled Him with sueh grief and an- 
guish, and so terrified Him, that He began to trem- 
ble and quake, confessing : "My soul is exceeding 
sorrowful? even unto death/' 

Mow if the sins of others are able to inflict sack 
agony upon this pious, innocent heart, what must 
not be the result if our own sins assail our naturally 
sinful and corrupt hearts, which are inclined to 
despair ! God sometimes gives us instances of this 
result, that we may lie influenced by terror; in- 
stances, in which sin rages in the soul to such a 
degree, that the poor miserable wretches destroy 
their own lives in order to be quickly released from 
such rackings of conscience. This is a certain sign 
that such sufferings of conscience are more grievous 
and intolerable than bodily death, notwithstanding 
that the latter is most violently opposed to our 
nature ; for these wretched persons regard death as 
the means by which they can rid themselves of such 
sufferings. But it is a fatal means ; for it is against 
that commandment of God which tells us, "thou 
shalt not kill." These people, therefore, only make 
themselves more worthy of God's wrath and of 
damnation. The proper means, by which we can 
with certainty get rid of this anguish, we shail con- 
sider hereafter. 

Therefore, let us study this picture thoroughly, 
and not forget how our blessed Lord Jesus mourned 
and trembled at the mount of Olives. We should 
Bemember this especially when we are tempted by 

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70 smiiott <m is 

the devil, our own fesh and Wood, m Hie wicked 
world, and when we perceive our great propensity 
to sin. Then let us reason thfts : if sin is so mighty 
that it can aftect Jesus Christ, my Lord and God, 
with the greatest grief, though it be not His own 
sin, bat entirely that of others; how mtioh more 
will it not tempt, grieve, terrify and oppress me, 
who am myself guilty of every sin to which I con- 
sented, and who can, at any rate, only with the 
greatest effort resist the fear of death and of the 
anger and judgment of Ood ! Therefore, get thee 
hence, Satan, I will not follow thee ! Thou makest 
it easy for me to sin, ae though sin were a trifling 
matter ; but in my Lord Jesus I perceive that it is 
the most intolerable burden, because it so agitated 
His innocent heart. Therefore this narrative is of 
great value to us as an admonition to live in the 
fear of Ood and to sin no more. And most certain 
is it, if we bear this picture in mind, and, in accord- 
ance with it, persevere in prayer against tempta- 
tion, that God will mercifully assist us by His Holy 
Spirit, so that Satan must flee and our flesh be kept 
under restraint; while they who do not keep this 
picture in view are led and driven like haltered 
cattle whithersoever the devil will. 

Especially does the prayer Christ offered here 
serve as such an admonition. These were His 
words: "0 my Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass from me" Now it is evident that this was 
not possible ; for it was necessary that He should 
offer up His body for the sins of the whole world, 
and die upon the. cross* But what else is to be 
inferred from. this, tham that sin k such a great and 
terrible transgression that it was impossible for aay 

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raer passion-shumw, 71 

erectuve "to afford the least relief from he curie? 
Bat if we were to be delivered from this, it wgi 
necessary for the eternal Sou of God to become 
man aud to suffer death upon the croes for oar sine; 
thus only could we become free from sin. 

Therefore, again from this should we learn to 
know and judge sin correctly. If we desire to obey 
our own hearts and the devil, and to follow the 
example even of the world, it will be very easy for 
us to commit adultery and fornication, and to seek 
to profit by covetousness, by the practice of usury, 
and hy extortion. We see this in the case of those 
who fall into such temptations that they can neve? 
get enough of sinning. O, do not serve your own 
heart, Satan and the world; let not the smooth fur 
deceive you, for it surely covers sharp, poisonous 
claws, and should these seize you it is all over with 
you, unless God succor you in an extraordinary 
way! Eor if sin could, in the manner we have 
related, assail and terrify Christ, who never was 
guilty of a single sin, what will become of you and 
me, whom sin has, at any rate, previously so cor- 
rupted that we can not do otherwise than fear, 
tremble and despair and fly from God, as did Adam 
and Eve in Paradise! Therefore, let us be on our 
guard, and not run wantonly into such danger. 
Let us ask God for His Holy Spirit, that He may 
assist us, — that we may by His help defend our- 
selves against sin. If we do this, we shall be indeed 
the better for the scene at the mount of Olives. 

Let us proceed* Even aft this scene has been 
employed by us as an admonition to fear God and 
to .guard against tin, so doee it serve, m the second 

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place, for our consolation. Ho man is able «o owe* 
fully to govern himself that bis flesh and Satan will 
not succeed sometimes to mislead him with their 
clanaar, so that he makes a mistake and falls into 
sin. And Satan incessantly prowls around the 
Christian for the special purpose of leading him 
into public offences, as we can see in the case of 
illustrious saints. How deeply David fell! And 
Peter the same ! Now if this should happen to us 
also, and Satan should then come and harass our 
hearts by his representations of our sin, then we 
should again behold this picture of the mount of 
Olives, and turn our thoughts inward and say : O 
God, why is it that Jesus Christ, my Lord, Thy 
Son, trembles so ? What is it that troubles Him ? 
He prays that the cup might pass from Him. What 
is this cup ? It is the bitter death upon the cross 
and nothing else. But why does He suffer this 
death, being without sin, holy and righteous ? Alas, 
this is brought about by the sin of the world, which 
God has placed upon Him ; this it is that oppresses 
and alarms Him ! 

But how must I apply this ? what must I con- 
template here? This will I consider here, and 
believe that it is true : if God has placed my sin 
upon Him, then am I most certainly released from 
sin ; and because this is so, John the Baptist calls 
Him "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin 
of the world." What accusation could I now 
bring against myself and my dear Lord Jesus? 
True, I am a sinner ; I experience, alas ! that my 
sins alarm me and that they always try to make me 
sad ; I am afraid of God and His severe judgment. 
Nevertheless, of what could I accuse myself; and 

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how could I censure my dear Lord Jesus? He 
trembles at the mount of Olives, and feels such 
anguish that His sweat is as it were great drops of 
blood ; my sins, which He has taken upon Himself, 
and whose heavy burden He has borne, have brought 
Him to this. Therefore, I shall leave them there, 
and firmly hope that when I shall appear before 
God and His judgment, God shall find no sin in 
me. Not as though I were pious and had com- 
mitted no sin, but that God Himself has taken 
away from me my iniquity and laid it on His Son. 
Isa. 53. 

Thus the scene at the mount of Olives also serves 
for our consolation ; it assures us that Christ has 
taken our sins upon Himself and rendered satisfac- 
tion for them. For how could we otherwise account 
for such fear and trembling? If our sins, therefore, 
rest upon Christ, we can be content ; they are in the 
right place, — just where they belong. Upon us 
they do not lie well ; for we and all men, yea and 
all creatures, are too weak to bear a single sin : it 
would crush us with its weight. Therefore, let 
them remain upon Christ, and see what happens 
Him on their account. He takes them to the^cross 
with Him and even dies in consequence of them ; 
J>ut on the third day He appears as the Lord of sin, 
death and the devil ; for they attacked Him with 
all their powers, but accomplished nothing. Now 
this should be our comfort, and we should thank 
God for the unspeakable grace, by which He re- 
moved from us the heavy burden which would have 
hurled us into the abyss of hell, and placed it upon 
His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who, although He 
was sinless and God eternal, still toiled and drudged 

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under it at the mount of Olives, until the bloody 
sweat flowed gently from Him. To this comfort 
let us cleave, and not permit sadness to oppress our 
hearts, but say : it is sufficient that my Lord Jesus 
mourned and trembled so; my lamentations can 
accomplish nothing. But if I make His agony my 
comfort, and on it base my hopes in life and death, 
then has He so labored for me with His griefs and 
fears that I must in future be joyful in Him and of 
good cheer, and not fear sin and death, but hope 
for God's grace and eternal life. Such exercise of 
faith and comfort in Christ is the true worship of 
God, pleasing unto Him ; and since this exercise is 
the only means, by which we can worship God 
truly, poor, troubled consciences should make use 
of it whenever the burden of siu tortures and alarms 
the heart. Otherwise it is impossible to find any 
true, certain consolation in such misery 

But this history of the scene at the mount of 
Olives is also of use to us in teaching us, by Christ's 
example, how to conduct ourselves in times of fear, 
temptation and distress. The hour was now at 
hand when Judas should betray, the Jews capture, 
and the Gentiles crucify Christ. What does He 
do? He is "exceeding sorrowful" and full of fear. 
But this is not all. "He went a little further, and 
fell on His face, and prayed." We too must learn 
this ; we dare not let trouble so affect us that we 
forget to pray. For it is also a necessary part of 
divine worship and pleasing to God, not to despair 
in anguish and distress, but, when these attack us, 
to lift up our hearts to Him, and seek His help. 
The 91. Psalm testifies to this, where God says: 
"He sh^ll call upon me, and I will answer hixa^ X 

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will be with him in trouble ; I will deliver him, and 
honor hingu" But this is very difficult for us ; for 
we imagine, when God suiters anxiety and distress 
to come upon us, that He is angry with us and is 
our enemy ; and, therefore, even if we do pray, we 
think that our prayers are vain and useless. But 
against this we can employ the comfort of Christ's 
agony, and thus drive back such thoughts. For if 
God were always angry wheu He suffers pains and 
distresSbs to come upon us, it would follow that He 
was angry with His dear Son. But the reverse is 
the case, as Solomon also sayg, namely, that the 
father scourgeth every son whom he receiveth, and 
whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. Therefore, 
let no such thoughts deceive us ; let us not regard 
God as an enemy because He permits us to suffer. 
We see here that He does not exempt His only 
begotten Son from suffering, but permits Him to 
feel sin and the agony of death, and to fear and 
tremble on their account. We should believe that 
God deals with us in the same way ; that we are 
His children and that He desires to remain our 
Father, notwithstanding that He lets us suffer it 
little. For why would we be spared all those 
things, from which He did not exempt even His 
Only Begotten, whom He permitted to suffer that 
ggony for us which we would have had to suffer 
forever in hell ? Therefore, let us still follow Christ, 
and as we endure fear and distress with Him, evea 
so let us learn to pray with Him, and doubt not 
that God will graciously hear our prayers ! 
, And how did Christ pray ? The prayer itself is 
a very useful and necessary pattern, which we 
should imitate, and never leave out of sight. He 

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prays : "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass from mo ; nevertheless, not as I will, but as 
Thou wilt." This petition He repeats three times, 
until finally, as Luke says, "there appeared an angel 
unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him/' 

Now this is the model prayer which we too 
should use in temptation and trouble. "0 my 
Father," He prays, as though He would say: 
although my present anguish and alarm ^are so 
great that they make me exceeding sorrowful, even 
unto death, and that I see nothing before me but 
Thy terrible wrath, and death ; still I do not doubt 
that Thou art my Father, that Thou dost love me, 
that Thou dost behold me and care for me. There- 
fore, I hope to be released from this agony. "If it 
be possible, let this cup pass from me;" that is, 
help me, and save me from these sufferings. 

Even as Christ calls upon God, His Father, so 
tnust we also do. For, although He alone is the 
eternal Son of God, according to the 2. Psalm: 
"Thou art my Son ; this day have I begotten Thee," 
yet we too are children and heirs of God by faith 
in Christ Jesus. We should, therefore, not merely 
titter these words in our prayers, but be fully con- 
fident that God, as our Father, desires our welfare, 
and will not forsake us, His children. For where 
such trust is wanting, there can be no sincere 
prayer, and there surely the thought is entertained 
that God is not our Father, that He does not want 
us, and that He is not concerned about us. But 
this is dishonoring God and robbing Him of His 
right name, "Father." 

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But let us learn still another lesson. Our dear 
Lord Jesus prays that His Father would let this 
cup pass from Him, and, as the true only begotten 
Son, He expects everything good of His Father. 
Yet He adds these words : "Nevertheless, not as I 
will, but as Thou wilt." Let us do the same. Let 
us not on account of temptation and affliction think 
that God is angry with us ; but turn to Him as the 
child turns to its father ; for, because we believe in 
Christ, God will accept us as sons and as joint heirs 
with Christ; and let us call upon Him for help, 
saying : O blessed heavenly Father, see how hard 
it goes with me in this or that respect, — help, for 
the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, — suffer me 
not to remain in this distress or to sink under it, 
and so on. With this God is well pleased. And it 
is His desire that we all, in every need, have such 
confidence in Him, in and through Christ ; that we, 
firmly relying upon Him as our dear Father, call 
upon Him ; and that we do not doubt at all that 
He, for Christ's sake, will not only be merciful to 
us as His dear children, but also heartily sympathize 
with us and therefore willingly help us. Still we 
must humble ourselves, and not insist upon having 
our will, but submit it to the will of God whether 
we shall still continue in misery ; and, if this is His 
will, show our obedience by patiently bearing such 
a delay of deliverance, as we can see that Christ 
here did. 

But the question might here occur to us: why 
does Christ here pray thus, while in His prayer in 
the 17. chap, of John He does not use a single 
word which implies that He commits the decision, 
whether He shall obtain His request or not, to the 

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Will of God ? There He says : "Father,' the hour is 
come; glorify Thy Son. O Father, glorify Thoti 
me. Keep through Thine own name those whom 
Thou hast given me. I pray that Thou sbouldest 
keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through 
Thy truth." Also : "Father, I will that they also, 
whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I 
am," &c. This entire prayer shows that He wiH 
have His request granted and not denied. But why 
does He not pray in the same way here? Answer: 
the want, for which the Lord prays here, is a tem- 
poral, bodily want. Now we must, in all things 
pertaining to this bodily life, submit our will to 
that of God ; for, as Paul says, "we know not what 
we should pray for." It is, besides, often necessary 
for us that God should leave us under the cross 
and in distress. Since God alone knows what is 
good for us, we should prefer His will and renounce 
our own, rendering obedience with patience. 

When, however, bodily affairs are not the subject 
6f our prayer, but eternal blessings, God's will is 
manifest and unalterable ; it is His will that all men 
should be saved, that they should acknowledge their 
sin and believe in its forgiveness through Christ. 
Such eternal blessings we receive when God pardons 
our iniquity, upholds us by His "Word, sanctifies us, 
and gives us the Holy Spirit and everlasting life ; 
and Bttch blessings as these it is that Christ implores 
for the Christian Church in John 17. Therefore, 
when praying for such heavenly, eternal gifts, it is 
not necessary to commit it to God's will, whether 
He will hear us or not. We should know that He 
will give us these things willingly and most cer- 
tainly ; for we have His Word which declares to us 

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His will in this respect. "God so loved the world," 
Christ tells us, "that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." Behold, here we 
have God's will with reference to our salvation. 
Boldly, therefore, let us pray in accordance with 
this will, just as Christ, John 17., prays : "Father, 
I will that they be where I am !" Be this also our 
prayer : Father, I pray and I will have it so, that 
Thou forgive my sins for the sake of Thy Son, 
Jesus Christ, who has expiated their guilt, having 
made an atonement for them by His death ! 

In this way, however, we cannot perceive God's 
will in regard to bodily temptation and distress. 
"We do not know whether it would contribute to 
©ur salvation and to the honor of God, if He should, 
according to our desire, quickly release us from 
sickness, poverty or other troubles. We should, 
therefore, pray for help indeed ; but submit it to 
the will of God whether we shall be helped soon or 
shall continue in our affliction. And should God 
not relieve us immediately, and in the manner we 
wish, our prayer shall still not be useless, but God 
shall strengthen our hearts and impart to us grace 
and patience, so that we can bear our affliction and 
triumph in the end. The example here of Christ 
proves this; God, His Father, would not let the 
cup pass from Him; still He sent Him an angel who 
strengthened Him. So it shall be with us too, even 
if God should delay or refuse His help. But in 
regard to spiritual wants we are certain of being 
heard : God will, for Christ's sake, cheerfully for- 
give our sins and save our souls ; therefore, we cat* 

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pray for this with sure confidence, and it were a 

sin to doubt it. 

This is the third lesson, about prayer in tempta- 
tion. But we are very slow at learning it, as the 
example before us of the disciples plainly shows. 
Temptation was in store for them too, and, there- 
fore, the Lord admonishes them to pray, so that 
they might not enter into temptation. For in such 
a case prayer is the only and the best preventive 
and remedy. But the flesh is so weak and slug- 
gish, that when the danger is greatest and prayers 
are most needed we slumber and sleep; that is, 
anguish overtakes us and molests us so severely, 
that we think all opposition is vain and useless. 
Temptation or the fall is the result of this, as it was 
in the case of the disciples. But our gracious and 
compassionate God, who has promised us assistance 
and mercy through His Son Jesus Christ, pardons 
this weakness and rescues us from temptation, if 
we heed His admonition, again to seek consolation 
and help with Him. 

This, then, is the history of the agony at the 
mount of Olives, which should be diligently con- 
sidered and properly applied. This is done when 
we, in the first place, learn from it how very heavy 
a burden sin must be, since it so oppressed and 
tortured the Son of God that He trembled, and that 
great drops of blood fell from Him to the ground, 
and when we, therefore, look well to ourselves and 
flee from sin. 

This is done when we, secondly, draw consolation 
from this history in those times of distress and 

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temptation which cannot fail to come upon as too ; 
, we see how the Son of God bore our sins. 

We make the right use of this history when we, 
in the third place, continue instant in prayer, in 
every temptation, according to Christ's command : 
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into tempta- 

He who thus employs the occurrences at the 
mount of Olives, shall remain in the fear of God 
and in true faith, and shall find comfort and deliv- 
erance in all manner of dangers and temptations. 
May our blessed Lord Jesus grant this to us all 
through His Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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The Seizure of Christ in the Garden. 

Matt. 26, 47-50. And while He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the 
twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, 
from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed 
Him gave them a sign, saving, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is 
He ; hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesns, and said, Hail, 
Master ; and kissed Him. And Jesus said onto him, Friend, wherer 
fore art thou c*me ? Then came they, and laid bands on Jesus, and 
took Him. 

!>his is the second part of the history of the 
events which took place in the garden. Here 
vfe are told, in the first place, how Judas, one of the 
twelve, after he had conferred with the Jews on the 
subject, and sold the Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of 
silver, (each of which, according to our coin, is 
worth about half of a florin), finally also betrayed 
Him in the garden. 

This was a very wicked and scandalous deed, 
and it is, even at this day, so offensive to many 
wise and sensible people that, on account of it, they 
speak evil of the Gospel, and consider its doctrine 
injurious. For, since Satan keeps no holiday, but 
chiefly sows his tares among the wheat where he 
sees the good seed coming forth hopefully, it is no 
wonder that among those who possess God's pure 
Word there are found so many disciples of Judas, 
that is, knaves and infidels. 

When the world sees such deeds it quickly passes 
judgment upon them. Thus we are often com- 
pelled to hear how our adversaries of the present 
day lay all the blame for such offences upon the 

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floctrtfie, and say : If the doctrine were correct it 
would also produce good fruit, but since there are 
so many more offences in the world now than there 
were formerly, it must follow that the doctrine is 

True, the Insurrection of the Peasants, in the 
year 1525, occurred after the Gospel had been 
brought to light. Then followed the Sacrament- 
arians, Anabaptists, and other sects, the like of 
which no one heard nor saw before the Gospel 
came to us. But does it, therefore, follow that the 
doctrine is bad, and that such oflences were pro*- 
duced by the doctrine? We shall find the answer 
to this if we examine that villain, Judas, who was 
neither Gentile nor Turk ; neither was he a Jew of 
that kind which ottered resistance to Christ and 
paid no attention to the Word of God. Matthew 
Says that he was "one of the twelve," whom Christ 
had called to preach, to baptize in His name, to 
cast out devils, and to perform all manner of glorious 
miracles. And since the Lord knew his knavery 
from the beginning, there is no doubt that He 
instructed Judas more than the rest, always admon- 
ishing him not to give place to sin and temptation. 
In connection with the Holy Supper the Evangelists 
specially mention that the Lord would every now 
and then let fly a word or two at him, if, peradven- 
ture, he might be tnrned from his sin. And, 
finally, He gave him a sop, no doubt casting upon 
him a longing look, as though He would say: O, 
thou poor fellow, how canst thou be my enemy? 
What cause do I give thee for intending such 
things against me ? 


by Google 


Bat since nothing could prevail with him, and 
since he gave place to temptation and even yielded 
to it, the Lord said unto him: "That thou doest, do 
quickly;" as if He wanted to say: I see well 
enough that all warnings and admonitions are in 
vain ; go, then ; there is no help for thee. 

Now what shall we say to this, that the desperate 
villain commits such a hideous sin, and harbors 
such malice and bitterness against his Lord and 
Master, in whose name he also had performed 
miracles, that, for the sake of a trifling sum of 
money, he betrays and sells the innocent, pious, 
gracious and gentle Lord and Saviour, well know- 
ing that it would cost His life ? Whom shall we 
blame for this ? Here we read that he was one of 
the twelve. Shall we, therefore, say that the Lord 
Jesus and the doctrine which Judas heard of Christ 
are to blame? If Christ had taught him better 
things, would he have done them ? But supposing 
that this thought did occur to you, would you not 
shudder at it, and fear so to accuse the Lord Jesus? 
For you know that He is holy and righteous, and 
the enemy of every vice ; yea, that the object of all 
His teaching and preaching was to check and ward 
off sin and save from death. Why, then, would 
you impute such crime to our dear Lord? You 
should rather say : If Judas had not been such a 
scandalous, wicked villain that every friendly warn- 
ing was thrown away upon him, and could not free 
him from his malice, he would have behaved himself 
differently ; for, although the other Apostles were 
so very weak that they were offended because of 
the Lord Jesus, they still do not fall into sin so 

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monstrous as that of Judas, who must, therefore, 
have been such an arrant knave that nothing could 
save him. 

Why then do you not pass the same judgment 
upon similar cases which occur at present ? Why 
do you blame and blaspheme the Holy Gospel for 
that which wicked men and Satan have committed? 
For if Christ Himself cannot preach with such 
earnestness and power that Judas ceases to be a 
scoundrel, as he was from the beginning, it is no 
wonder that the like is seen among us also, and that 
not all obey the Word. 

The Peasants' War, as stated before, followed 
after God had restored the Gospel to us; we have 
no desire to deny this. But must the Gospel, 
therefore, be reproached for this offence and mis- 
chief? Were there not insurrections and offences 
in the world before the Gospel was preached ? We 
should rather argue as follows: Satan hates the 
Gospel ; men are by nature corrupt and inclined to 
evil ; therefore, Satan and the evil worM have 
caused these offences, so that the good seed, which 
is the pure, wholesome doctrine, might be despised 
by men. 

Thus originated the Sacramentarians and Ana* 
baptists also, of whom no one heard before the 
coming of the Gospel. > But the Gospel is not to 
blame. The devil, and then the temerity of idle 
and frivolous hearts which do not hold fast the 
Word, but follow their own wisdom, whistled for 
this jig, and prepared this terrible evil and such 
pernicious scandal. 

Evtn at this day, as we see, this scandal prevails, 
that avarice and usury, lasciviousness and gluttony, 

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and other vices are more common among those who 
boast of the Gospel than they were formerly under 
the papacy. Whence comes this filth ? Is it learned 
from the Gospel! Are the preachers to blame? 
No, such thoughts be far from us ! That would be 
abusing and calumniating God and His dear Word, 
and the Gospel ministry which is God's most 
precious gift* But we must blame the very devil, 
who is chagrined when he sees the field well pre- 
pared and sowed with good seed ; for this admira- 
bly impairs his kingdom. Therefore, while the 
house-holder sleeps, he comes with his peed of 
wickedness, and scatters tares over the whole field. 

But thus be does not bring it about that the tares 
alone grow. For even as Judas, one of the twelve, 
was a rascal while the other disciples, notwith- 
standing their frailty, did not fall into such shock- 
ing sin ; so, while many and very common offences 
exist, we also find many noble, pious Christians, 
who abide in the Word in all sincerity, live in the 
fear erf God and guard against offences. We 
should be satisfied with this and thank God for 
it. And since we cannot get rid of this Judas, we 
shall have to tolerate him, still remembering that 
not all are like him, but that some of the disciples 
turned out better. 

The instanoe of the spoiled child, Judas, teaches 
us, first, that we must not revile the Gospel like 
the Papists, but recognize the true cause of offences 
in the devil and in those disobedient hearts which 
believe not the Word and will not be bettered by 
the Word. 

/ Secondly, it teaches us, by that dreadful fall, to 
{tar God- For, as was said above, Judas waa no 

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common person, but An Apostle, and, doubtless, 
possessed many noble, excellent gifts ; this is indi- 
cated by bis having a special office among the 
disciples, the Lord having appointed him house- 
holder, or steward. 

Now this Judas, who was an Apostle, who in 
Jesus' name preached repentance and remission of 
sins, who baptized, cast out devils, and did other 
miracles, apostatized most shamefully from God 
and became the enemy of Christ, whom, for a little 
silver, he sold, betrayed and delivered over to be 
slaughtered. And since such a terrible misfortune 
befell so great a man as Judas, we surely have reason 
never to feel secure, but to fear God, to beware of 
sin, and, without ceasing, to pray that God would 
not lead us into temptation, but that when tempta- 
tion comes upon us He would mercifully sustain us, 
deliver us from it, and not suffer us to stick fast in 
it. For unless the greatest caution is exercised and 
the weapon of prayer is diligently used, it is a very 
£asy matter to fall and commit sin. 

The 03se of Judas stands thus. He was an 
avaricious fellow ; the Evangelists mention several 
times that he was in the habit of stealing from the 
treasury, which, according to the Lord's appoint- 
ment, was in his care. He gave the reins to this 
qin and became addicted to it. He permitted men 
to talk and to preach to him, as, alas ! some of the 
miserable, provoking Christians of our day let them- 
selves be talked and preached to ; but went never- 
theless and stole wherever he could, and thought 
himself in no danger because he w*e an Apostle as 
w^jell M thte rest. 

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Because he thus gave place to sin, his carnal 
security finally brought him so far that the devil 
entered into him quite, 'and urged him on to the 
attainment of his outrageous purpose of betraying 
his dear Lord and Master for fifteen florins. Since 
the devil was thus successful in leading Judas to 
this act of treachery, the greater wretchedness fol- 
lowed that Judas fell into despair and hanged him- 
self on account of such sin. This is the end the 
devil had in view. 

Now we should diligently observe this case of 
Judas and, as already stated, be admonished by it 
to keep a clear conscience ; to live in the true fear 
of God ; and not to cease praying that God would 
uphold us by His Word, rule us by His Holy Spirit, 
and keep us from sin. For if we make a mistake 
in an apparently trifling matter even, unspeakably 
great misery may ensue. Our dear Lord Jesus, in 
the 11. chapter of Luke, warns us against this, say- 
ing: "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a 
man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest ; 
and finding none he saith, I will return unto my 
house Whence I came out. And when he cometh, 
he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, 
and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked 
than himself; and they enter in and dwell there ; 
and the last state of that man is worse than the 
first." We have instances of this before us. Before 
the blessed Gospel came to light again, the devil 
enjoyed perfect tranquility ; he had ensnared nearly 
every heart by a spurious worship and by reliance 
on good works. But God has now banished him 
by the Gospel, that we might know that God is not 
served and that we are not benefited by the celebra- 

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tion of masses, by vigils, pilgrimages and monkery. 
God's Word has taught us a different form of wor- 
ship, which the 2. .Ps. calls "kissing the Son ;" and 
God from heaven declared it "hearing and believing 
in His Son." This we know. 

Let xis see what takes place now. The devil 
would gladly come back to his old home ; but he 
can not, for he finds the entrance blocked up and 
himself exposed by the light of God's Word. "Then 
goeth he and taketh to him seven," that is, in- 
numerable, "other spirits more wicked than him- 
self; and they enter in and dwell there." We see 
that most men are under the impression that they 
can lead a lewd life, practice covetousness und 
usury* lie and deceive, and still be in no danger, and 
be good Christians all the while. Wherever there 
is a hole left open for the devil, even if we would 
.think it too small for him to peep through, it is 
large enough for him to stick his head in and drag 
•his whole body after. In this way he entered into 
Judas too. We might think his stealing ten or 
twenty dollars a very little matter; but because he 
continually hankered after the pleasures of this sin, 
and did not suffer God's Word to restrain him, the 
devil fiually prevails on him, for the sake of money, 
to lead his blessed Lord and Master like an ox to 
the slaughter. 

Hence the warning: Fear God and shun sin. 
But if you will continue in sin, you may look out 
for the danger, to which you thus expose yourself; 
for the devil does not go to work with the intention 
of conferring favors on you. He prompted Judas 
to avarice until he led him through despair to the 
gallows. Let this be your warning, and desist in 


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time ! Earnestly beseech God that He would, for 
Christ's sake, not impute to you your iniquity, and 
then reform ! This is the will of God. He per- 
mitted this dreadful example of Judas to be given 
that we might study it and recoil from it. For 
who would have thought that such a terrible sin 
could have such an iusigniticant beginning! O, do 
not make light of this ; do not think in your heart : 
I can do so and so, and still be a Christian, — I will 
make amends some day, &c. The devil is too cun- 
ning for you ; when he has once spun his web about 
you, it will not be easy for you to tear yourself 

So much for the example of Judas. From an- 
other point of view our text furnishes us comfort 
and admonition. It is always the case, that, as our 
Lord Jesus fared on earth, so must His Church and 
precious Gospel fare to the end of the world. 
Judas, one of His disciples, betrays Christ. Thus, 
they who hold churchly offices and bear ecclesias- 
tical titles and names, wish to be regarded as the 
heads and rulers of the Church; it is not thirty 
pieces of silver, as in the case of Judas, but many 
thousand dollars that make them traitors and arch- 
enemies of the Church. See the Pope, for instance; 
he has the very bag of Judas hanging from his 
neck, and is so fond of money and possessions that 
he takes them in exchange for the Gospel, which 
he betrays and sells, and with which he deals as the 
Jews dealt with the Lord Jesus before Caiphas and 
Pilate! And just as Judas attaches to himself the 
servants of the high priests and rulers, so. the Pope 
gathers about him monks, priests, schools, bishops, 
and his entire brood of spiritless Sodomites, who 

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help him capture Christ, that is, persecute and 
denounce the Gospel, as if it were the most hellish 
heresy. And finally Pilate, the civil government, 
also joins them, and attempts to exterminate the 
Gospel with the sword. 

This has been taking place a long time, ever 
since the Pope received such great power and 
authority. And even to-day the ranks of Judas' 
array are being swelled by those who use the Gospel 
for coining gold, with which they then feed their 
avarice, ambition, pride and lust. These should, 
indeed, consider Judas' end. l 1 or it has been 
resolved that neither the Pope nor any other 
traitors of Christ and His Word, let them be ever 
so exalted and wise, shall be blessed in the posses- 
sion of that price of blood obtained by selling Christ 
or His Gospel. Sooner or later remorse shall come ; 
and, should no amendment follow, these Gospel- 
venders, together with Judas their master, shall 
receive eternal death and damnation as their recom- 
pense, in the depths of hell. Let no one doubt this ! 
Were it not for the denunciation of such a terrible 
doom, we should have reason for being indignant 
on account of these miserable fellows, Pope, car- 
dinals, bishops, priests and monks, they fare so 
sumptuously every day. But, my friends, let us 
not envy these fattening hogs because God permits 
them for a little while to wallow in the filth of their 
obscene lusts ; the thirty pieces of silver, for which 
they sell their Lord every day, will lie heavily 
enough upon their souls when Christ shall say to 
them : "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Besides, 
their heart and conscience cannot be long satisfied 

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For, although they may for a time live in thought- 
lessness, security and riot, when eventually that 
little black dog, Remorse by name, begins to bark, 
it will go badly enough with them; then, with 
eternal ruin yawning before them, they shall see 
and feel what Isaiah meant in his 48. chapter, when 
he said : "There is no peace unto the wicked." We 
have instances before us at the present time of the 
terrible end which came upon several of the most 
prominent adversaries of the Gospel. 

This we say with reference to Judas, of whom 
the Evangelists tell us how he sold Christ, led the 
Jews into the garden and betrayed the Lord Jesus 
with a kiss, which, according to Matthew, was the 
sign he should give the Jews. This is also applica- 
ble to those false prophets who, because they have 
the authority of office, mislead poor consciences 
with false and impure doctrine. 

The Evangelist John mentions two remarkable 
miracles performed in the garden by our Lord Jesus. 
One of them is the following. When the Jews had 
come into the garden to the Lord Jesus, He asked 
them, "Whom seek ye?" And when they had 
answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth," His reply, "I 
am He," so frightened them that they all went 
backward and fell to the ground as if they had been 
struck by lightning. This was done by a special 
and divine power, which the Lord showed forth at 
that time, not alone to terrify the Jews, but also to 
strengthen His disciples. These, instead of ventur- 
ing, as they did, to rescue Jesus by force, might 
have concluded from this display of power that if 
the Lord did not choose to give Himself up unto 
death, He was able to defend Himself and resist His 

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enemies without calling upon others for assistance 
or protection. The Lord wanted no violence done, 
and severely remonstrates with Peter on this sub- 
ject, as we shall see. This miracle, therefore, serves 
as a protection against that gulf of offences, in 
which both the Jews and afterwards even the disci- 
ples came near drowning. Since the Lord suffered 
Himself to be seized, allowed the Jews to play on 
Him their wauton pranks, and finally permitted 
Himself to be so shamefully executed upon the 
cross, even the disciples were so offended that they 
forgot all those miracles which they had seen Him 
do and all those powerful sermons they had heard 
of Him, and thought that everything was over with 
Him now, — that their hopes had been all in vain. 
And, on the other hand, the unbelieving and mali- 
cious Jews felt certain that their object would be 
well accomplished as soon as they should have Him 
nailed to the cross. 

How glorious, therefore, this miracle ! The great 
multitude- of Jews, armed with swords and staves, 
provided with authority from the rulers, and eager 
and desperate to do its work, is driven back and so 
frightened that they all fall to the ground as if 
some enemy had violently thrust them down ; and 
all this by the single word, "I am He," spoken by a 
man who stood alone and weaponless, and who did 
nothing more than speak most friendly words. 
The disciples see this great miracle ; the Jews also 
feel its force; still it is soon forgotten. Yea, 
because Christ so patiently submitted to His suffer- 
ings and used no other power against His enemies, 
thw took Him to be a mere man. 

But they should in all reason have argued as 

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follows : If this Man is able, with a single word, 
which is neither invective nor curse, but only a 
gentle reply, as with a thunderbolt, to strike down 
such great, strong, bold and armed men, then must 
there surely be a deep meaning in His voluntary 
resignation. He is able to defend and protect Him- 
self, but instead of doing so He submits. He there- 
fore does not desire the aid of men. And, although 
He now hides flis power and permits the Jews to 
do with Him what they will, this shall, by no 
means, be the end of it. Dismay must seize His 
enemies, but He must conquer. For that divine 
power which He showed forth so frequently, and 
which He manifests here in the garden especially 
by the single word, "I am He," cannot remain with- 
held and repressed for a great length of time, &c. 

The disciples in particular should have regarded 
the miracle in this light. There can be na doubt 
that it was to this end that the Lord here revealed 
His divine might. But alas \ the effects of this were 
too quickly lost upon both parties. The Jews, 
intent on their mischief, feared no further. The 
disciples, running hither and thither, now sad, now 
terrified, had no hope, of ever again seeing their 
Lord and Master, to say nothing of their despairing 
of ever being further benefited by Him. This was 
the "hour of darkness," as Christ calls it in the 
Gospel according to St. John, in which offences 
prevailed and the devil exercised His power. It 
was for this reason that the Lord so earnestly ad- 
monished the disciples, "Watch ye and pray, lest 
ye enter into temptation." 

The other miracle is similar to this. It is per- 
formed by Christ's second answer: "I have told 

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you that I am He ; if therefore ye seek me, let these 
go their way." Our dear Lord is alone, and 
has neither sword nor spear; whereas Judas, the 
traitor, comes upon Him with a great multitude. 
We would think that our dear Lord had reason to 
entreat and beg, seeing that He stands against such 
numbers. But He advances and commands the 
Jews that they should let His disciples alone, and 
not lay hands on one of them. This is a stern 
command : Sinite hoa abire y "Let these go ;" and 
we see that it was not given in vain. For they, no 
doubt, set out with the thought that they would 
capture the whole company, Master and disciples. 
But this command compels them to desist from 
their intention of taking the disciples, although 
Peter did not deserve this, because he lay about him 
with his sword. 

But why does the Lord give such a command? 
It is not incorrect to say, that He wishes to show 
by this that He esteems His own life more lightly 
than'the lives of His disciples ; for He rescues them 
while He lets Himself be taken and bound. For 
the same reason He calls Himself a "Good Shep- 
herd" who "giveth His life for the sheep;" and 
shows us His love as a special example, saying: 
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man 
lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, 
if ye do whatsoever I command you." We clearly 
see that He is silent about His own person; the 
Jews do with Him what they please and He does 
not hinder them. But He wants them to let His 
disciples alone and to do no violence to them. 
This shows that He cares more for them than for 

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This was not done without a purpose. Our dear 
Lord Jesus wanted no partners in the sufferings 
before Him. For, as the 53. chapter of Isaiah tells 
us, "The Lord hath laid on Him," on Him alone, 
"the iniquity of us all," and this He had to bear 
alone and for this offer Himself as a sacrifice. True, 
the disciples also were afterwards compelled to suffer 
for the sake of Christ and His Word, as Christ had 
told James and John : "Ye shall indeed drink of 
the cup that I drink of." 

But the suffering of the Lord Jesus was a suffer- 
ing for my sins, for thy sins, and for the sins of all 
the world ; so that now, for Christ's sake, God will 
not only forgive and pass by these sins, but also 
bestow righteousness and eternal life upon me, upon 
thee, and upon all believers. For this reason Christ 
desired to be alone, and permitted no one to be 
seized nor to suffer with Him. 

This should be preached in all churches through- 
out Christeudom, and with all diligence should the 
people be continually taught to hope for the for- 
giveness of every sin, alone through the sufferings 
and death of Christ, &c. But this is not done by 
the abominable Pope and his scandalous scribblers 
and shriekers. Their tongues, indeed, confess that 
Jesus is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world ; but their actions give their words 
the lie. This they prove by their so woefully de- 
ceiving the poor people with their falsehoods ; tell- 
ing them to invoke deceased saints, of these saints 
to seek pardon for their sins, and with the merits 
of these saints to console themselves, and in virtue 
of their doing this they receive indulgences. This 
is as much as saying that Christ desired associates 

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in His sufferings, and accomplished nothing by 

That the Lord was afterwards crucified between 
"two thieves" has its peculiar signification, viz., to 
show for whom Christ's sufferings avail, and upon 
whom they are lost; of which, however, we have 
no time to speak at present. But here in the garden 
the word is: Sinite hos abire, "Let these go;" I 
alone am fit for this work ; to suffer and to die for 
the sins of the world is an office which belongs to 
me alone. Neither John, Peter or James can do 
anything in this ; let all these go their way ! I, "I 
am He;" me you must lay hold on, me capture, me 
bind, me crucify, unto me it is given to take away 
the sin of the world ; and all who believe in me, 
that is, comfort themselves with my suffering and 
death, shall find a gracious God and eternal life. 

This, then, is the second part of the history of 
those things concerning Christ which occurred in 
the garden. It teaches us: first, to bear in mind 
this terrible fall of the Apostle Judas, to abide in 
the fear of God, to avoid sin, and to be diligent in 
prayer that God may in mercy prevent us from 
fulling as Judas fell ; secondly, that we also, as true 
Christians, shall be sorely molested by the avarice 
of some Judas or other, that we must patiently 
endure this and cling to the consolation that Christ, 
though He may be weak in us now, will show His 
power at the proper time, and graciously protect 
and preserve us. The Ever-living Father of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ grant us this by His 
Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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Christ Refusing to be Rescued by Peter's Sword, 

Matt. 26, 51-56. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus 
stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of 
the high priest, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, 
Put up again thy sword into his place : for all they that take the 
sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now 
pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve 
legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that 
tbus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are 
ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? 
I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on 
me. But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might 
be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled. 

^jrehis is the third and last part of the scene in 
f^fllf the garden, or at the mount of Olives, It 
relates how Peter drew his sword, intending to 
rescue his Master by force, after they had taken the 
Lord Jesus. 

The facts here narrated, in the first place, teach 
us a necessary and useful lesson concerning the 
sword, or temporal power, showing who shall and 
who shall not wield it, and what punishment is due 
to him who presumes to bear it without a call. 
Secondly, whereas Peter in this case makes use of 
the sword to liberate Christ, and still Christ forbids 
his doing so, it becomes necessary here to treat the 
question, whether we dare or should defend the 
Gospel with the sword, so that the civil government 
may be properly instructed in both respects, and 
neither act contrary to its office, nor do more than 
its calling demands. Otherwise both Church and 
State would be unjustly dealt by, "which injustice 
would be most certainly punished. 

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Now as far as Peter is concerned, it is manifest 
that he was a minister or ecclesiastic, whom it does 
not behoove to bear the sword, according to the 
words of Christ : "The princes of the Gentiles exer- 
cise dominion. But it shall not be so among you." 
Therefore, Peter does wrong in resorting to the 
sword for the Lord's protection, and Christ rebukes 
him for it. This was not a matter that could be 
decided with the sword, for Christ says : Even if 
our cause did depend upon our defence, "Thinkest 
thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He 
shall presently give me more than twelve legions of 
angels?" This was as much as saying: It is now 
expedient for me to suffer ; I will not have any one 
to draw his sword on my account and strike for my 
protection. But Christ admiuisters this rebuke to 
Peter for the reason, also, that to him as a private 
person the sword did not belong. Therefore, He 
not only commands Peter to put up his sword, but 
also pronounces the terrible threat : "All they that 
take the sword shall perish with the sword." 

We must duly heed these words; for by them 
the Lord makes a distinction among men, inform- 
ing us that some wield the sword by divine com- 
mission. These are all they who, by the proper 
and ordinary means, are called to the temporal 
government for the purpose of ruling, of guarding 
and promoting the public weal, and of preventing 
public offences. Into the hands of these God gives 
the sword, that is, it is God's will and institution 
that tbey bear the sword, not for their own emolu* 
ment, but for the good of their subjects, as St. Paul 
gays : A ruler "is the minister of God, a revenger 
to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." For 

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since words will not persuade the world, severity 
must be used, and people must be compelled to 
desist from crime, so that the common peace and 
unity may be maintained and a restraint be put 
upon wantonness. If the thief persist in stealing, 
let him dangle from the gallows, and then we shall 
be secure from him. Let the wanton villain who 
takes delight in injuring every one, and who strikes 
and stabs for the sake of a mere word, find justice 
on the gibbet, and then he will let people alone; 
he will henceforth strike and stab no more, for the 
hangman puts an excellent stop to such work. 
Therefore, the civil government serves God by using 
the sword against sin and scandal ; for God, who 
will not leave offences and sin unpunished, has 
given the command to do this. God makes this 
distinction among men, that to a few He intrusts 
the sword, with it to ward off mischief and to pro- 
tect the subjects. 

But the rest, who have not received such author- 
ity, must, by no means, handle the sword, and never 
draw it except at the command of the temporal 
government. But should they take it on their own 
responsibility, the judgment written here will most 
certainly not fail : "All they that take the sword 
shall perish with the sword." In every history we 
see how they who took revenge into their own 
hands never succeeded well with it ; all rebels had 
to suffer finally and perished with the sword. All 
manslayers who wickedly murdered others were 
either delivered to the executioner or perished in 
some other way, or else went so astray in the miser- 
able life they led that they would a thousand times 
better have died. Such is the regulation of God; 


by Google 


He will have it so, that all they that take the sword, 
and do not wait until God or the government gives 
it to them, shall perish with the sword ; this cannot 
be changed. Let every one, therefore, be careful 
and bridle his wrath ; let him either patiently bear 
his wrongs and subdue his passion, or else seek 
justice in the proper and divinely sanctioned way. 
What this is, has been sufficiently pointed out. Since 
God has given temporal governments the command 
to restrain offences and defend the pious with the 
sword, we must seek safety at the hands of these 
governments and inform against the offender. We 
must do this not alone for our security, but also to 
the end that offences be resisted, that malice be 
hindered, and that they who exercise temporal 
authority may properly discharge the duties of their 
office. For neither a mayor of a town nor a ruler 
of a land can be acquainted with every disturbance, 
and still their office makes them responsible to God 
for the quelling of all offences and uproars. Now 
if you and every body else would choose to keep 
silent about your wrongs, this would only increase 
the mischief and be giving the occasion for your 
own hurt, both of which results would be wrong, 
and both of which you can prevent by calling upon 
the government for protection. Should the govern- 
ment, however, upon your petition do nothing in 
this matter, and not help you to your rights, then 
observe this : Bear your wrongs patiently and be- 
ware of revenging yourself, lest your righteous 
cause become unrighteous before God and man. 

But what then becomes of the words of Christ : 
"Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, 
turn to him the other also. And if any man will 

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sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let 
him have thy cloak also," &c? We answer: Both 
of these commands were given that we might be 
restrained from taking revenge into our own hands, 
and that we might rather suiter all things, and wait 
for the judgment of the Heavenly Judge, who is 
not so slow and heedless in conducting His office, 
as the civil authorities frequently are in conducting 
theirs. Christ here does not forbid our complain- 
ing to the government of the injury that is done 
us; He does not impose silence upon us. 

But, you ask, do I not seek revenge when I make 
complaint against him who has harmed me? Most 
certainly ; but you do right by this, provided you 
do it in the proper way and without anger or hatred 
towards your neighbor. For this is not your own 
revenge, but the revenge instituted by God for the 
purpose of checking scandal and protecting every 
one in the possession of his own. In short, he who 
has not been commanded to use the sword and still 
arrogates it to himself, to revenge himself or others, 
subjects himself to the judgment and condemnation 
of God : "All they that take the sword shall perish 
with the sword." "Whenever, therefore, you or 
yours are injured, beware of the improper course of 
grasping the sword yourself and being your own 
defender! But make use of the correct means, 
that is, bring the matter before your government 
and let this protect and succor you; God com- 
manded it to do this and ordained it for this. If 
you do this you do well, and will*be safe against 
meddling with the affairs of others. But if the 
government either will not or can aot help you, 
then endure your afflictions, touch not the sword, 

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and let God fee your Avenger; He surely will 
avenge you and also punish the government for its 
negligence ! 

But should a cut-throat come upon me in the 
forest, or a ruffian attack me on the highway, with 
the intention to harm me, and I had no time to 
seek the protection of the government, must I suffer 
myself to be injured or murdered? No; for in 
such a case the government permits every one to 
defend his person and Ms life against violence and 
outrage ; for whenever she can lay hold on these 
villains, she executes them without delay. For this 
and other reasons Moses, according to the command 
of God, prescribed the* appointment of several cities 
of refuge, to which the manslayer might resort who 
had taken life not intentionally, nor for revenge, 
nor in wrath, but accidentally or in pressing 
necessity. The civil authorities also follow this 
rule and recognize the lawfulness of self-defence. 
But in all other cases remember that "All they that 
take the sword shall perish with the sword." 

But as they who, having no right to the sword, 
still continue to usurp the power of the sword, do 
not seek lawful vengeance and wish to admin- 
ister vengeance themselves ; even so, on the other 
hand, they, to whom God has given the sword that 
they might diligently wield it, are always inclined 
to be too mild, as though God had given a fox's 
tail into their hand instead of a keen-edged sword. 
These latter also commit great sin and are griev- 
ously disobedient before God, and they also shall 
be very sorely punished for their conduct. For 
where the civil government does not oppose public 
scandal with reasonable severity, there God Himself 

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must eventually interfere as Judge and use the 
sword. And at the advent of this Judge, not only 
an individual or two, but an entire city or land 
must suffer for these sins. This we learn from 
many passages of Scripture and from numerous 
instances before us. It is, therefore, necessary that 
magistrates do not become lazy or indulgent, but 
that they exercise a becoming earnestness and a 
vigilant supervision, and that they apply punish- 
ment wherever offences exist ; thus they satisfy the 
demands of their office and please God. But r as 
we have already said, this is an unpleasant duty ; 
men take no delight in it, as can be shown by 
examples. For how often do we not find mildness 
used where it should not be used, and the most 
heinous offences lightly punished ! How frequently 
are not hindrances interposed, and intercession 
made, so that crimes escape unpunished! 

But should we not have more regard for the 
divine command than for human intercession? 
God says: lteceive from my hand this sword; I 
give it thee that thou shalt, in my stead, punish 
every one under thy control who is guilty of public 
offence, no matter whether he be friend or foe, 
exalted or low, rich or poor, noble or ignoble ; let 
the sword descend wherever there are offences, so 
that these may not prevail ! This is what God says 
to every government. But, on the other hand, 
men come with their petitions, asking that this or 
that one might be pardoned, or punished mildly, 
although the most terrible trespasses, atrocia ddicta, 
have been committed, such as brutal murder, incest, 
and the like, &c. And it often happens that man's 
intercession has more influence upon the govern-: 

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ment than the stringent command of God. I leave 
it to you to judge whether this is right, and what 
must be the result under God's justice. 

Sometimes offences are public, but the civil 
government refuses to punish them unless some one 
volunteers as plaintiff. Because no one brings com- 
plaint, it lets the matter pass. This is downright 
heedlessness, both in regard to God's command 
and to the office. The watchman is stationed on 
the tower, by day and by night to be on the look- 
out for fires or other mischief that may occur with- 
in or without the city, and then to publish the 
danger in time, and to warn against losses. In 
like manner God has placed the temporal ruler far 
above all other people, that he might exercise 
watchfulness, and when he sees offences about to 
be committed, be they great or small, to put them 
down with the sword before they become formid- 
able, no matter whether any one has complained or 
not* Therefore, "he beareth the sword," as Paul 
says, to be "a terror to evil works," so that peace 
may be enjoyed by all and wantonness may be 
resisted. And the Lord commands here that the 
sword shall not rest nor be idle, but destroy those 
who take it. Thus we see that both parties fail to 
do their duty : they who have not the sword, wish 
to have it and lay about them with it, like Peter 
here; but they who have it, can with great difficulty 
be persuaded to grasp and wield it. 

But they who really understand and obey this 
passage will act differently. They, into whose 
hands God has not committed the sword, will, of 
course, let it alone, and rather suffer all things than 
presume so far as to take it ; and this, because they 

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recognize the command of Christ and the ordinance 
of God, which they feel certain dare not be trifled 
with, and against the violation of which they 
guard as against the executioner, the gallows or 
the wheel. And they, to whom God has given the 
sword, will cheerfully and fearlessly sway it over 
one and all, regardless of their subjects' station and 
property; for they know that they are bound to 
check scandal wherever they meet it, and, therefore, 
they obey God and serve Him eagerly. This must 
suffice for the first point. 

The question which we stated in the beginning 
now claims attention. As private persons are ab- 
solutely forbidden to grasp the sword, and the Lord 
reprove* Peter for drawing his sword in Christ's 
behalf, would it then be lawful for a government to 
defend itself when attacked on account of religion ? 
Or, in plainer terms : considering that Christ did 
not permit Peter to rescue Him with the sword, are 
rulers permitted to resist attacks made on the Gos- 
pel, and to instruct their subjects everywhere to 
defend it with the sword? 

It is necessary here, first, to observe the distinc- 
tion between the civil government, the office of the 
ministry, and the private person. The civil govern- 
ment, above all other duties assigned to it, has 
received the emphatic command to disseminate and 
apply God's Word, and with the sword to protect 
those subjects who are oppressed on account of the 
"Word. About this there is no question whatever; 
for the sword must protect virtue and punish viee, 
and, above all, serve to promote the knowledge of 
God, as we infer from Bom. IS. And God says in 
Is*. : The Church shall "suck the breasts of king*," 

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that is, they shall be her protectors ; and, in the 24. 
Ps. : "Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; and be ye 
lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of 
glory shall come in." 

But ministers of the Gospel and private persons 
are not the civil government; therefore, neither 
ministers nor private persons dare draw the sword, 
for they have received no command to this effect. 
Peter, at that time, did not understand this so; for 
he did not know that the ministry would be an 
office void of royal and princely favor. Peter should 
not, therefore, have drawn the sword. But all 
temporal authorities are obliged to shield God's 
Word and the true Church. Had God ordained 
them as swineherds, then their only duty would be 
to protect the throats and care for the corn of their 
subjects ; but, as it now is, they must, first of all, 
preserve the honor and knowledge of God in the 
human race, perpetuate the true worship of God, 
punish and exterminate false doctrine and idolatry, 
and rather hazard everything than suffer themselves 
or their subjects to be forced into idolatry or false- 
hood. Therefore the 2. Ps. says to them: "Kiss 
the Son," that is, receive and protect God's Word ! 

This is the civil ruler's noblest duty. We see in 
history that God imposed this duty, and that the 
Holy Spirit highly extols not only the pious Jewish 
kings, Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Hezekiah, but also the 
kings of the Gentiles, e. g. Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, 
Gyrus, because they instituted the true worship of 
God and violently opposed the worship of idols. 

This being the office of the civil government, it 
foHows that she must, as long as she can, protect 
and preserve herself and those belonging to her 

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against the attacks of the ungodly and never give 
way to these assaults ; for it is impossible that they 
who persecute God's Word and carry on idolatry, 
should have the Holy Ghost. For what would be 
the result should she refuse to do this? She alone 
bears the sword ; and her subjects dare not take it 
even in case she herself refuses to use it. The 
inevitable result must be that success would crown 
the efforts of the wicked, the Word of God would 
be extirpated, God's pure worship would cease, and 
the old idolatry would be re-established! 

Now who is willing to sanction this and, by 
sanctioning it, to heap upon himself such great and 
terrible sin ? yes, who will dare to do this, knowing 
that it is written : "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, 
and ye perish from the way;" further, Lev. 24: 
"He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he 
shall surely be put to death;" also: "Flee from 
idolatry ;" and again : "Rulers are a terror to evil 
works ?" And now, since the establishing of idol- 
atry is an evil work, they who have the sword are 
not only permitted, but also seriously commanded, 
with all boldness to shield and save themselves and 
theirs from this evil by the sword. On the subject 
of self-defense, you may find the answer to the 
question, whether subordinates may defend them- 
selves against those superiors who exercise public 
tyranny, as against notorious murderers or high- 
waymen, by reading the Admonition to the German 
People, and other works which specially treat on 
this subject; it would occupy too much time at 

But here we speak of those alone who have the 
sword, that is, who are in office. Now if bishops r 

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for instance, who are of that class of people that has 
not the sword, deprive their subjects of one of the 
elements in the Holy Supper, or inflict upon them 
other manifest errors, these subjects, although they 
ought, in such cases, to obey God rather than men, 
and although God seriously requires such disobedi- 
ence to their commands, dare not draw the sword 
on account of such errors, but must bear them, if 
they would not use the sword like Peter, who had 
not been commanded to do so. 

But you say that a Christian must tolerate in- 
justice and violence, and not oppose them by force, 
I answer that the subject of which we now are 
speaking is the civil government, who is the sword- 
bearer; and she has sufficient violence done her 
when other governments destroy her peace and 
attack her in war. Let us regard these her suffer- 
ings as severe enough, and not impose still further 
burdens upon a Christian government! He who 
afflicts her still more, and even snatches the sword 
out of her hand, virtually gives his consent that 
the enemies of truth shall exercise their malice 
without restraint, and even deprive us of God's 
Word. There is time enough for giving such con- 
sent, when the government is not able to protect 
the truth. But as long as we can hope for her 
help, and as long as the matter depends upon the 
help of God and reposes in His hand, it is our duty 
to venture and to suffer, so that we may not be 
accused of being more mindful of favor, peace, and 
the like, than of God's "Word and the salvation and 
well-being of the subjects. 

Ever clear and plain, therefore, stands the com- 
mand : Osculamini JUium ; Hunc audit e, "Kiss the 

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Son;" "Hear ye Him;" "Flee from idolatry," Ac. 
Such commands as these require of the worldly 
ruler that he oppose not merely worldly or temporal 
oftence, but also false doctrine and false worship. 
But by what means must he do this ? What means 
has God given him ? Read St. Paul's 13. chapter 
to the Romans, where you are informed: "He 
beareth not the sword in vain," But against whom 
shall he bear it ? Against those who defend false 
doctrines and idolatry, and who seek to compel 
others to accept heresy and false worship. This 
the Christian government dare not tolerate. For 
the heavenly Lord of lords has forbidden it, and 
declares that God is worshiped and His Word 
lauded when we jeopard peace, the favor of men, 
and the like, rather than sanction that which mili- 
tates against God's Word. 

This, then, is the import of Peter's unauthorized 
attempt at liberating the Lord by fighting with the 
sword. But in our text we find yet another sermon, 
which is a reproof designed especially for the Jews, 
who had been instructed by their proper govern- 
ment to take swords and staves, and with them te 
attack the Lord Jesus. Still they receive the Lord's 
reprimand. "Are ye come out as against a thief 
with swords and "staves for to take me ? I sat 
daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid 
no hold on me." 

With these words the Lord rebukes them for a 
twofold reason. In the first place, even when the 
civil government puts the sword into her subjects' 
hands, they must not take it if they are expected to 
use it in an unrighteous cause ; and, secondly, they 
should not have taken it to use it against Him* 

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their Lord. Eor He was no murderer. It was the 
doctrine that was in question. Doctrinal disputes 
are not to be judged and decided by fire and sword 
in imitation of the Papists, but according to the 
Scriptures. If we are heretics, as they accuse us, 
then let them prove it from Scripture, and leave the 
hangman at home ; he has no business with such 

But as the Jews dealt with Christ, so the rapists, 
their disciples, still deal with Him. They can not 
and they will not enter upon a debate, unless their 
doctors and papal decrees are recognized as having 
equal authority with God's Word. But since we 
refuse to recognize them as having such, they come 
out against us with swords and staves, as did the 
Jews against Christ. I suppose they do this so that 
every one can see that they are of the same breed 
with the Jews, to whom the Lord says, Jno. 8: 
"Ye are of your father the devil," for "ye seek to 
kill me." This applies admirably to these blood- 
hounds, the Papists. But we, who, like Peter, have 
not been called to use the sword, must suffer these 
things. God, however, in His own good time, will 
punish such cruel despotism, and mercifully deliver 
His own from the fury of these blood-thirsty 
tyrants. Amen. 

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The Lord Jesus Led to Annas and Caiaphas and 
Tried by the Jews. 

Matt. 26, 57-68. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him 
away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders 
were assembled. But Peter followed Him afar off unto the high priest's 
palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now 
the chief priests, and elders, and all the council sought false witness 
against Jesus, to put Him to"~death ; but found none : yea, though 
many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came 
two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy 
the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest 
arose, and said unto Him, Answerest Thou nothing? what is it which 
these witness against Thee ? But Jesus held His peace And the high 
priest answered and said unto Him, I adjure Thee by the living God, 
that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus 
saith unto him, Thou hast said : nevertheless I say unto you, Here- 
after shall ye see the Son of man siti ing on the right hand of power, 
and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his 
clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy ; what further need have 
we of witnesses ? behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. What 
think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did 
they spit in His face, and buffeted Him ; and others smote Him with 
the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, 
Who is he that smote Thee? 

?e have heard how our Lord Jesus wae be- 
j^^6)trayed by Judas in the garden and taken by 
the Jews. Now we come to notice how He was 
brought before Caiaphas, the high priest, under 
such charges as to lead to the unanimous decision 
that there was sufficient cause for delivering Him 
to Pilate and aiming at His life. 

In describing these things so carefully it was not 
the only object of the Evangelists to teach us the 
holy innocence of our Lord Jesus. That He was 
wholly pure and altogether without sin we must 
conclude from the known fact that He was the Son 

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of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost, and bora of 
the Virgin Mary. But, since the Church and the 
Gospel must receive the same treatment in the 
world which the Lord Jesus received, the history 
of Christ's wrongs is given us especially to the end 
that we may not be offended when similar wrongs 
are inflicted upon as also, but that we may always 
refer to it for consolation and learn to be patient. 
For if God's Son, our Master and our Head, was 
falsely accused, delivered to Pilate by the high 
priests, scribes and elders, and surrendered to the 
Gentiles to be crucified, is it to be wondered at if 
we receive similar treatment ? The servant is not 
to be more successful than his master. Therefore, 
we should rejoice when our experience is such that 
we can truthfully boast : This was the experience 
of my Lord Jesus also. For if we are like Him in 
suffering, we are warranted in the hope of heing 
like Him in glory too ; yea, and even before the 
revelation of this glory, we shall, in our suffering, 
derive from Him comfort, aid, deliverance. This 
history, which shows that even our Lord Jesus was 
not exempt from suffering, serves, therefore, first, to 
minister unto us consolation, that we may become 
more cheerful and more patient in our sufferings. 

And, secondly, it offers us an antidote against 
the common offences of this world. For every one 
regards the titular dignitaries, called chief priest* 
and elders of the people here, as pious men and 
saints, in virtue of their office, station and pomp. 
And so to-day the Pope, bishops, monks and priests 
desire, on account of their office, to be looked upon 
and treated as the most eminent members ot the 
Christian Church. But let us learn here not to 

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judge m$n by the office they hold, else we shall be 
deceived; but by the mauner in which they act 
towards Christ — by the relation which their heart, 
their will, sustains towards Him. When, by this 
text, we find good or evil in them, we must judge 
them accordingly; for then our judgement shall 
always be just. The office is, without a doubt, a 
holy and a good one ; but he who holds it may be a 
villain. For here we see that the high priests, the 
scribes and the elders, who are the rulers and 
leaders of the people in spiritual things and in 
things temporal, are the very ones who cannot 
tolerate the Lord Jesus and who, by dint of unre- 
mitting persecution and manifold intrigues, finally 
bring Him to the cross. We must confess that 
they are God's worst enemies and also, as Luke 
testifies in the 5. chapter of Acts, Epicureans, who 
in those days said that there is no resurrection 
from the dead, neither angel nor spirit. If we 
would, therefore, know to a certainty whether 
Pope, bishops, and the like, are pious or not, we 
must not be misled by their office; but need merely 
see how they conduct themselves towards the Gospel 
and the true doctrine, when we shall find that all of 
them are disciples of Judas, and that their hearts 
are disposed towards the Gospel as were those of 
the high priest3 towards Christ. These are the 
very fruits by which we may know the false proph- 
ets, the wolves, even when they come in sheep's 
clothing and have the appearance of devout and 
harmless persons. 

We shall now take up the trial of our Lord, and 
see with what hatred, malignity, craft, and virulence 
they treat Christ. 

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The Evangelist John mentions that the Jews led 
the Lord Jesus first to Annas, who, according to 
Acts 4., was also a high priest, but not in that year, 
and who was the father-in-law to Caiaphas, who 
officiated at the time. But Annas soon guve Him 
over to his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who was the high 
priest that same year ; for with him the chief priests 
and elders were already assembled. 

Here we see, in the first place, how inequitably 
the high priests deal with the Lord Jesus ; for they 
are at the same time both plaintiff and judge. The 
Lord could, therefore, not receive justice, let His 
cause have been ever so good, and let Him have 
said and done what He would. Such a way of pro- 
ceeding would be very dishonorable in a worldly 
law-suit, in which the same person is forbidden to 
act as plaintiff and judge by a special law. But 
nothing is sinful for these holy ones ; they have all 
power ; they can do as they please, and think they 
have the right to do so ! Woe to him who con- 
strues their actions ill, tells them they are in the 
wrong, or admonishes them! 

Just so our spiritless tyrants, Pope, cardinals and 
bishops conduct themselves. The Pope has for 
many successive years been causing us Germans to 
gape in expectation of a Council, at which, as he 
has been pretending, he would abolish the dissen- 
sion existing in religious matters. And, on our 
part, many serious efforts have been made at many 
an imperial diet, and on other occasions, to secure a 
free, Christian Council, at which to end the present 
disunion by means of the Holy Scriptures. But it 
is the manifest desire of the Pope to treat us and 
the Gospel as the Jews here treated Christ. He is 

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a party in the case ; accusation is brought against 
the blasphemous dogmas and counterfeit cultus 
which he has insinuated into the Church, in spite 
of God's Word, and upon which he still insists; 
what should he, as the defendant, do ? If he him- 
self is to be the judge, he will not declare himself 
in the wrong and decide in favor of his opponent, 
the plaintiff. But upon such a course as this the 
Pope and his parasites — these honorable men! — 
strenuously insist. Yea and more, when a Coun- 
cil is held he takes public part in it, while we, 
previously condemned by him, obtain neither vote 
nor seat. This is a wanton, unjust and grievous 

But here we have the proof that the world does 
not desire and is not able to deal otherwise with 
Christ. We should, therefore, be resigned, and, 
with the Lord Jesus, bear such injustice until the 
appointed time ; for what else can we do ? Caia- 
phas, who, as judge, sat in the judgment seat, him- 
self accuses the Lord Jesus and then even decides 
against Him. This is the first act of injustice in 
the trial before the priests. 

Another atrocious feature of this trial we find in 
their absolutely demanding the death of the Lord 
Jesus, while they cannot find sufficient cause for 
this, but must call to their assistance falsehood and 
false witnesses, until finally Caiaphas, the judge, 
himself arises and brings forth an accusation 
possessing some semblauce of foundation. Among 
other false testimony submitted, was that of "two 
false witnesses," who came "and said : This fellow 
said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and 
to build it in three days." 

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The correct history of this latter charge we find 
in the 2. chapter of John. When our Lord Jesus, 
in Jerusalem, at the first passover after His baptism, 
had with a scourge driven out of the temple the 
changers of money and the merchants, together 
with their oxen, sheep, doves, and whatever else 
they had, and poured out the changers' money, and 
overthrown the tables, the Jews gathered together 
and said : Thou venturest to exercise special vio- 
lence here ; hast Thou authority to do this ? What 
sign shewest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest 
these things? Then the Lord answered them thus: 
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise 
it up." By this He meant to say the same as by 
the sign of the Prophet Jonah, Matt. 12., namely 
this : You desire a sign and shall have it. You 
shall kill me ; but on the third day I will raise my- 
self from the dead. He for whom such sign does 
not suffice is past all help. ThiB is the narrative. 

But see, how wantonly they pervert His wordB ! 
He says: "Destroy this temple;" and then they 
charge Him with having said : "I am able to destroy 
the temple," thus to make Him appear guilty of 
having spoken against the temple of God. And 
even if we accept the Jews' interpretation of Christ's 
words, admitting that they were spoken with refer- 
ence to the temple at Jerusalem, would a man be 
guilty of death on account of using such words? 
In short, he who would make charges against 
Christ, must first become a base liar ; our Papists 
also are a living proof of this. What they cry out 
against the Gospel is bare falsehood. They are 
dead to every sense of shame, daub their notions 
into other men's books and belie us, saying that the 

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holy sacrament receives scandalous treatment at 
our hands, that we throw against the wall what 
remains of the cup, and that we tramp with our 
feet what is left of the consecrated bread. Are 
these not gross, palpable lies? Why, common, 
bread and wine is not treated so, but is preserved* 
How much more would we then not keep decently 
that, of which we confess and teach, in opposition 
to the Sacramentarians, that it is not mere bread 
and not mere wine, but the true body and blood of 
Christ, given for us upon the cross and shed for our 
sius ! But we need not wonder at the Papists' lies. 
He who deals in falsehoods can speak no truth, and 
he who acts contrary to truth cannot help himself 
excepjt with lies. On this principle the world, as 
we here see, dealt with Christ, and will continue so 
to deal with the Christians and the Holy Gospel ; 
for it canuot do otherwise. 

But when their witness agreed not together and 
was powerless in itself, Caiaphas, the judge or high 
priest, rushed to the rescue, and, according to John, 
asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His doctrine, as 
though he would say : What is this new doctrine 
Thon bringest? Art Thou dissatisfied with Moses? 
Must Thou have something extra ? Art Thou alone 
wise and are all we fools? Where are they noW 
who regarded Thy doctrine right and divine ? It 
may be such a good doctrine that we too would be 
pleased with it and receive it. But it is merely the 
rabble, which knows nothing about the law, that 
Thou attachest to thyself; the honest and upright 
desire not thy preaching. To such question the 
Lord answered : "I ever taught in the synagogue, 
and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort ; 

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and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest 
thou me ? ask them which heard me, what I have 
said unto them ; behold, they know what I said." 
The Lord does not desire His doctrine to be despised, 
and says that He had not feared the light, but had 
preached it openly to the world, that it should, 
therefore, not be reviled as a thing done in a corner. 

When He had thus spoken, a scoundrel standing 
by dealt the Lord a severe blow with the palm of 
his hand, as though it were intolerable that the 
high priest should be thus answered and not more 
reverently treated. Even to-day we see such priests' 
slaves, who are ready to defend with the sword the 
sacrilegious doctrines and shameful, sodomitical 
life of the Pope and his shaved and shorn train. 
And then we also find those vain prattlers, jesters, 
mountebanks, aud the like, who would serve them 
faithfully, and whose only object in blaspheming 
and reviling the holy Gospel is, to receive the favor 
of their bishops and of the idol at Rome. This we 
must suffer, indeed, as Christ also suffered it, but 
dare not connive at it, nor forbear rebuking and 
publishing such vice. We must do as Christ here 
does : He addresses the servant, and tells him that 
he had smitten Him unjustly, but does nothing 

When they now found themselves without any 
cause of action, Caiaphas, the high priest, comes to 
the main point, saying: "I adjure Thee by the liv- 
ing God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the 
Christ, the Son of God." Knave Caiaphas thinks 
thus to hit the nail on the head, and to seize the 
Lord Jesus by the throat. Observe here, first of 
all, that it is not the intention of Caiaphas that he 

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or the rest should believe in the Lord, in cttse He 
should say that He is the Christ. By no means I 
But this is the very confession they desire to hear 
Him make, thinking that then they could convict 
*Him without difficulty. And Christ understands 
them well enough ; but this does not induce Him 
to deny who He is. He answers : "Thou hast said," 
that is, just as thou hast said, I am the Christ And 
what is still more, it shall only be a little while yet 
and ye shall "see the Son of man sitting on the 
right hand of power ;" that is, after these days I 
shall not need to suffer any more, but, in my glori- 
fied body, shall 1 show that I am not only a man, as 
you regard me, but also the almighty Son of God, 
who rules over all, and on the judgment day I shall 
come in the clouds of heaven and judge the quick 
and the dead. 

Behold, now the high priest has heard the glori- 
ous, excellent confession which tells him what he 
should believe concerning this man, whom he and 
others had prepared themselves to entrap, and 
whom they were resolved on killing. Let us see 
what use the high priest makes of this confession. 
Matthew tells us that he "rent his clothes, saying, 
He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need 
have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard 
His blasphemy. What think ye ?" 

In this, the first trial of our blessed Lord Jesus, 
which took place in the house of Caiaphas, He was 
declared a heretic and blasphemer. This gluts tho 
high priestly maw; and now it only remains to 
have some worldly accusation brought against 
Christ before Pilate, so that His death might be 
decreed. While each one privately deliberates oa 

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this, our innocent Lord Jesus is made to submit to 
their scorn; He must suffer them to spit in His 
holy face, and Himself to be buffeted, derided, 
smitten and mocked. For they regard such treat- 
ment altogether just, because Christ has been pro- 
nounced a heretic and blasphemer. They make a 
jest of His saying that He is the Christ. One strikes 
Him on this side, another on that. "Aha! You 
are the Christ, are you," they say, "then, pray, 
prophesy unto us, who is he that smote Thee ?" 

But let us diligently mark whether the Gospel 
does not fare in the same way to-day. The Papists 
question us, and desire to know our doctrine. And 
then, when we with the greatest simplicity and 
honesty confess our doctrine, as was done at Augs- 
burg, at Ratisbon, and at imperial diets in other 
places, the mighty clamor rises : Heretics, heretics ! 
All are busy then at heaping upon the poor Chris- 
tians whatever ignominy, contempt, mockery and 
injury they can rally. They cry : It is Evangelical 
you are, is it ? Is this your Gospel ? J ust wait, we 
will give you a little of the Gospel ? And so they 
have gone to work and inflicted a most atrocious 
reproduction of the Passion-History upon the pious 
Christians of Germany, Italy, France and England. 

It is, therefore, important that we carefully study 
this priestly Processum Juris. For then, in case 
we are brought before a similar tribunal, we can 
follow the example of our Lord Jesus, learning of 
Him patience, and deriving from Him true consola- 
tion. And, should we be compelled to suffer with 
Him for the sake of His "Word, we can hope also to 
live with Him, and with Him to be lifted to glory. 
May (Jod grant this to us all. Amen. 

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Peter Thrice Denies the Lord Jesus in the 
House of Caiaphas. 

Matt. 26, 69-75. Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a 
damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 
And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, 
and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus 
of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the 
man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said 
to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them ; for thy speech bewrayeth 
thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the 
man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the 
word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt 
deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. 

^his is a useful narrative, for which reason it 
is related by each of the four Evangelists. 
It is useful chiefly in two respects. First, it teaches 
us to cherish humility and avoid presumption ; for 
see how easily Peter, who would previously have 
gladly imperiled his body and his life for the Lord 
Jesus, is brought to such a terrible fall. And 
secondly, it teaches us how we may regain grace, 
after we have fallen into sin ; for Peter furnishes us 
with a pleasing example of Christian repentance, 
showing what repentance really is, and how we 
must be freed from sin. But let us first relate the 

When Jesus was taken captive in the garden and 
led away, first to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, 
and from Annas to the high priest Caiaphas, John, 
as he himself writes, followed from afar and entered 

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the house of Caiaphas, in which he was acquainted, 
bringing Peter in with him. The latter sat down 
with the servants in the house and warmed himself 
at the fire. Then a damsel asked him whether he 
was a disciple of the captive Jesus. He vehemently 
denied that he was. The cock then crew for the 
first time. Upon this, as Matthew and Mark relate, 
Peter went away from the fire, out into the porch, 
where he was encountered in a similar way by a 
maid, who began to say to them that stood by, 
This is one of them. Luke tells us that it was a 
man who said this of Peter. It needs merely be 
remembered here that, after the maid had begun to 
speak about Peter, the rest also expressed their 
opinions and chimed in with the maid. Peter then 
a second time denied. And finally, about the space 
of one hour after, as we are informed by Luke, he 
was met by one of the servants of the high priest, 
who, according to John, was a kinsman to him 
whose ear Peter cut off. He attacks Peter a little 
more severely than the rest, publicly saying that he 
had seen him in the garden with Jesus. Peter 
would not keep silent to this accusation, for he 
feared that it would endanger his life. Then began 
he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the 
man, of whom ye speak. , Now the Lord turns and 
casts upon Peter a look which so penetrates his 
soul, that he now perceives what he has done ; and 
he goes out of Caiaphas' palace and weeps bitterly. 
This is about the whole of the occurrence in order, 
as related by the four Evangelists. 

Here we should, in the first place, as stated in the 
beginning, learn from the example of pious Peter to . 
recognize our weakness, so that we may refrain 

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from putting absolute confidence in other people or 
in ourselves. For our hearts are so entirely faint 
and fickle that they change every hour, as the Lord 
says in the 2. chapter of John. Who in the world 
would have expected such instability and feebleness 
in Peter! When the Lord, Luke 22., cautioned 
him, saying, Satau hath desired to have you, that 
he may sift you as wheat, how courageous was he 
not, how bold and undismayed ! "Lord," said he, 
"I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and 
to death." And when the Lord continued to ad- 
monish him, telling him not to be so foolhardy, 
and that before the cock would crow twice he should 
have denied Him thrice, we see that Peter thought 
it all a fable. He imagined this impossible, and 
intended to adhere to and defend the Lord at the 
risk of his own life. And his actions, indeed, show 
this to have been his intention. For in the hour of 
greatest peril, when the Jews were taking captive 
the Lord in the garden, Peter was the first to draw 
his sword, and he slashed into the mob, notwith- 
standing that he and only one other armed person 
opposed so many who were well equipped. Now 
who would have believed that one so valiant, who 
so faithfully stands by his Master, would so soon 
afterwards shamefully betray Him? In the garden 
no one attempted to hurt Peter and his fellow disci- 
ples, for the Lord's "Let these go" protected them. 
And especially here in the house of Caiaphas no 
one desires to injure them. But when, altogether 
incidentally, and perhaps through sympathy^ the 
damsel that kept the door said unto Peter : "Art 
not thou also one of this man's disciples?" hie 
courage failed him, and he feared that he would 

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have to share his Master's fate if he should answer 
yes, and, therefore, he denies that he is a disciple. 
And when he was accosted on this point the second 
time and the third, lie began to curse and to swear, 
calling upon God to visit upon him His wrath if he 
had ever known or seen the man. 

Let us pay due attention to the conduct of Peter, 
so that we may learn properly to know ourselves 
and other people, and to beware of presumptuous- 
ness. For if such a denial of faith can proceed 
from Peter, who, above all the other disciples, had 
a heart filled with loyalty and love for the Lord 
Jesus, yea, who was so enlightened by the grace of 
God that even Christ said unto him : "Blessed art 
thou, Simon, for flesh and blood hath not revealed 
it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven," 
and that He gave to him the name Cephas, "a 
stone," how much more easily can not such denial 
come from us poor mortals, who are much inferior 
to Peter in point of gifts, and, in all other respects, 
much more faint and frail? Be on thy guard, 
therefore ; be not irreverently bold ; think not that 
thou hast climbed the mountain and art out of 
danger; remember that thy flesh is totally corrupt ! 
Neither doth Satan slumber, but walketh about as 
a roaring lion, seeking whose heart he may trouble, 
and whom he may cast down or even devour. 
Therefore, be vigilant; live in the fear of God; 
build upon His grace alone, and in Him repose thy 
trust and confidence! And let that which Jesus 
spake in the garden to Peter, James and John, 
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into tempta- 
tion," be spoken also unto thee, that thou mayest 
neither snore nor be falsely secure, as though there 

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were no danger and no need for fear from hence- 
forth, but that thou mayest watch and be sober, not 
doubting that thy arch-enemy is close at hand, yea, 
that thou bearest him in thy bosom! Thou wouldst, 
therefore, be lost, should God not stand by thee 
with His Holy Spirit. Thou canst neither govern 
nor restrain thyself one single hour. Therefore, 
say : I will pray God to give me His Holy Spirit, 
that He may rule and rightly lead me, and either 
ward oft' disturbance and temptation, or else gra- 
ciously succor me and suffer me not to fall ! This 
is the first point presented by our narrative. Under 
this head, however, appropriately comes the solemn 
admonition of the Lord, given in the 21. chapter of 
Luke : "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time 
your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and 
drunkenness;" for we are just as ill-bred as the 
brute, which, when well fed, shows its insolence. 
He who has plenty aud to. spare, readily forgets 
God and His Word, or else cares very little for 
them ; and then, before he kuows it, he is entan- 
gled in the devil's net. Therefore, wouldst thou be 
out of danger, observe these three things : fear God, 
be watchful and sober, and pray without ceasing! 
For, although we must still feel temptation's thrusts, 
and sometimes fall because of weakness, God, 
through His Holy Spirit, will lift us up again, and 
not suffer us to remain victims of temptation. 

In the second place, we find consolation in this 
narrative. Here we clearly see the fruit of our 
Lord Jesus' sufferings; and Peter's conduct plainly 
pictures to us not only the grace and mercy of God, 
but also the way in which grace may be regained 
by us when lost in unrighteousness and sin. Terri- 

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ble and heinous is the fall of Peter; as such he 
feels it most forcibly, and, therefore, he cannot 
longer bear to mingle with men, but steals away 
and weeps bitterly. 

But here we find that the Lord not only foretold 
to him his fall, but afterwards also received him 
into favor without punishing him as his sin had 
deserved. For on Easter, before the Lord Jesus 
had shown Himself, the angel who was at the grave 
commanded the women to announce to His disci- 
ples, and to Peter especially, that the Lord had 
risen. And the Lord Himself, soon after He had 
appeared to Magdalene and the other women, 
appeared to Peter and comforted him. This all 
works together for our consolation, teaching us not 
to banish from our hearts confidence in God's grace, 
though we may have fallen, but, seeing how the 
Lord deals with Peter, to be assured that He has 
died on our account, and that His sufferings shall 
bring us consolation and assistance, although we 
are poor sinners. For if sinners are not to have 
the benefit of the sufferings of Christ, then would 
He have rejected His disciples, and particularly 
Peter, first of all, and nevermore have interested 
Himself for them, because they were all offended 
because of Him, fled from Him, and so shamefully 
denied Him. But the merciful Lord does not so ; 
they are still His dear disciples, notwithstanding 
that they disgraced their calling. Let us mark this 
and apply it to our hearts for consolation ; for thus 
will our gracious God also deal with us. 

But, say you, what becomes of poor Judas ? Do 
we not see him cut off from all grace ? Although 


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we shall come to speak of this hereafter, it is still 
necessary for us, in this connection, to know what 
it was that furthered and preserved Peter, and what 
it was that subjected Judas to impediments and 
despair, so that Peter's case may teach us how to 
take care of ourselves and how to beware of that 
which befell Judas. Now we must make a distinc- 
tion between Peter and Judas with reference to the 
heinousness of their crimes. For, while both trans- 
gress the will of God and subject themselves to 
everlasting condemnation, Judas' sin is greater than 
that of Peter. Judas surrenders to sin voluntarily 
aud with premeditation, and, notwithstanding the 
Lord's frequent and fervent warnings, prefers his 
sins above Christ's love. This is not the case with 
Peter; his sin was accidental, not deliberate and 
maKcious; his denial of Christ was the result of 
casual diffidence or weakness. Had he apprehended 
this result, he would not have entered the house of 
Caiaphas. Then, there is this further distinction 
between Peter and Judas, that the former, unlike 
the latter, is not the enemy of Christ and does not 
hate Him; that he does not run counter to the 
Lord, like the latter, with such wanton scorn, 
hatred and obstinacy that no exhortation to peni- 
tence and no favor of the Lord can influence him 
to repent ; but that, before he considers and per- 
ceives what he is doing, through fear and weakness 
he is so overcome that he denies his dear Lord and 
begins to curse and to swear. 

Let us mark well the aforenamed distinction in 
regard to sins, viz.: that, although both Peter and 
Judas do sin, and thus subject themselves to the 
judgment of CJod, the sin of Judas is more enormous 

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than the sin of Peter. For the Lord subsequently 
makes the difference between Pilate and the Jews, 
saying, Jno. 19., "He that hath delivered me unto 
thee hath the greater sin." This is the reason why 
the conscience of Judas is more painfully wounded 
than Peter's, and his sufferings are more severe; 
the burden borne by Judas is by far the heavier and 
the more oppressive. Nevertheless, Peter's sin had 
deserved death, as well as that of Judas. 

This distinction is justified also by St. Paul, who 
says of his persecuting Christ and His believers 
that be had done this in ignorance, and that, 
although his work of persecution was a damnable, 
mortal sin, it was still not at all to be compared 
with the persecutions carried on by the chief priests 
*nd Pharisees. This difference deserves to be dili- 
gently regarded, so that we may beware of such 
wanton and malicious sins as of a most grievous 
burden, and therefore watch that we do not obsti- 
nately persevere in impenitence. Now, although 
Bins may be classified according to the degree of 
their criminality, and although no doubt exists 
that the greater the sin, the greater the consequent 
torment of conscience; still, when a man has ob- 
tained knowledge of his sins and is terrified by the 
wrath of God, he must not judge the measure of 
forgiveness and grace by the enormity or number 
of his sins. All sins, even the least, are so great 
and serious that we are not able to estimate their 
heinousness ; yea, so great that we could not endure 
one of them, were it adequately seen and felt by us. 
Besides, Satan can so magnify a sin, though it be 
not the greatest, that the- timid, fearful soul which 
is guilty of it supposes that no one else on earth 

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has ever committed so grievous a crime. Therefore, 
we must know and hold fast the Gospel doctrine of 
the grace aud kindness of the Son of God ; for this 
tells us that grace is mightier than all sin. It is 
the great object of God's Word and promises that 
no one may. despond or despair on account of sin 
but that all may trust in the grace of God through 
His only begotteu Son, our Lord Jesus. 

On this point Judas and Peter differ. Judas 
looks only at the enormity of his sins, falls into 
despair, thinks that all eternity can afford him 
neither counsel nor aid, and then the poor fellow 
goes and hangs himself. And why ? Simply be- 
cause he had despised God's Word and had not 
been bettered by it. When he now stood in need 
of consolation, but did not have the Word and 
desired not to turn to the Lord Jesus in faith, he 
was beyond all reach of help, Peter also wept 
bitterly, and feared and trembled on account of his 
sins, but he had more diligently heard and better 
remembered the Word of the Lord Jesus. There- 
fore, when he now finds himself in distress, he 
makes use of the Word, thinks of that which Christ 
has told him, clings to this, consoles himself with 
it, and hopes that God will be merciful to him. In 
such misery this is the true relief, which poor Judas 
lacked. But that this was really the course Peter 
took, and that he did abide by God's Word and 
grace, the Lord testifies in the 22. chapter of Luke, 
saying: "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail 
not." While he was denying Christ, we do not see 
that there was a spark of faith in his heart; but 
afterwards, when his conscience was aroused and he 
was tortured by it, his faith returned, preserving to 

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him this Word of Christ, and preventing him from 
falling into despair. 

Let us then learn here what true repentance is. 
Peter "wept bitterly." In this way repentance 
begins ; the heart must truly perceive sin and be 
sincerely sorry for it, so that our delight in it, our 
love for it, and our living in it may cease. Our 
having disobeyed God's will and sinned, must be 
for us a source of heartfelt affliction. 

Our might, however, cannot bring this about; 
but the Lord calls us to repent and makes His face 
to shine again upon us, just as He here calls and 
admonishes Pfeter by the crowing of the cock, of 
which He had told him before, and by turning and 
looking upon him. Vor we are by nature so dis- 
posed that we delight in sin and take pleasure in 
committing it continually. We see this in the case 
of Peter; for, after he had denied Christ once, he 
still keeps on until he has denied Him thrice, and 
cursed and sworn: "I do not know the man," 
being c6ncerned about nothing. But when the 
cock crows and the Lord turns to look upon him, 
Peter immediately pauses and considers what he 
has done. Now, according to our nature and to 
the nature of sin, sin cannot help but terrify us, 
threaten us with God's wrath, and fill our hearts 
with anguish, as was the case with both Peter aud 
Judas. Judas, when he perceived his sin, became 
so uneasy that he did not know what to do with 
himself. And Peter's agony was so great that it 
compelled him to flee from his fellow -men and give 
vent to his grief in tears, of which he could not 
shed enough. 

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When we feel such terror and anguish our best 
course is, first, to humble ourselves before God and 
freely confess our sins : O God, I am indeed a poor, 
miserable sinner, and, shouldst Thou depart from 
me with Thy grace, am able only to sin ; and then, 
to abide God's Word and promises, adding : "But 
be merciful to me for the sake of Thy Sou, Jesus 
Christ !" When the soul thus seeks to console 
itself with God's Word, and sincerely trusts that 
God, for His Son's sake, will be merciful, then 
must the anguish abate and comfort surely follow. 
True and complete repentance, then, is this : to be 
terrified and humbled by sin, and to find comfort 
in the Lord Jesus and His sufferings through faith. 

Thus, no doubt, Peter consoled himself with the 
word spoken to him by the Lord at the passover : 
"Satan bath desired to have you, but I have prayed 
for thee, that thy faith fail not," Luke 22. For, 
although his heart was filled with anxiety and sor- 
row, he did not despair like Judas. True, at first 
this consolation was as small as a grain of mustard- 
seed. But since the ground, on which this little 
consolation rested, was God's own Word and prom- 
ises, it increased wonderfully, and when Peter met 
Christ again, on holy Easter-day, it had grown so 
great that all terrors and all doubts had fled, and 
nothing remained except .heart-felt humility, with 
which to confess his weakness and cheerfully to 
acknowledge himself a sinner. Sin was not able to 
leave aught in Peter's heart except this weakness 
and this confession. This consolation, like a mighty 
deluge, suffocated, yea, quenched the fire that had 
threatened to consume his heart. Since, therefore, 
we cannot live without temptation, we should pre- 

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pare for it in time, and especially with diligence 
hear God's Word, and practice and remember it, so 
that consolation, like Peter's, may be oars in time 
of sorrow. 

Thus we find that this example of St. Peter is 
given us for instruction and for consolation. We 
should learn from it, first, to flee false security and 
to live in the fear of God; for it is an easy matter 
even for great 6aints terribly to fall. But, secondly, 
we must also learn from this example to cling to 
God's Word, and to draw comfort from it, even 
when we have fallen, so that we may not, like 
Judas, despair on account of sin. For God does 
not wish any one to exalt himself on aceount of his 
endowments, tor which reason we all should fear, 
watch and pray; neither does He, on the other 
hand, wish any one to be driven into despair by his 
sins. The Son of God became man and died upon 
the cross for the very purpose of banishing such 
evils. Therefore, if thou wouldst be a true Chris- 
tian, fear God and confide in His grace and Word, 
and thou shalt always find consolation, deliverance 
and help. May our dear Father in Heaven, through 
His Holy< Spirit, grant this to us all, for the sake of 
our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen. 

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Christ is Delivered to Pilate. — Judas Hangs Him- 
self. — The Potter's Field. 

Matt. 27, 1-10 When the morning was come, all the chief priests 
and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to 
death : and when they had bound Him, they led Him away, and 
delivered Him to Pontius\Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which 
had betrayed Him. when he saw that He was condemned, repented 
himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief 
priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the 
innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, 
and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver 
pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, 
because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought 
with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that 
field was called, The field of blood, unto thfc day. Then was fulfilled 
that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took 
the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, whom 
they of the children of Israel did value ; and gave them for the pot- 
ter's field, as the Lord appointed me. 

jou have heard, my friends, how the Lord 
! Jesus was first led to Annas, who then sent 
Him bound to Caiaphas, where the chief priests 
and scribes were assembled, and where these latter 
and the entire council sought false witness against 
Him, and finally falsely accused Him of blasphemy, 
for which, they said, He ought to die. We expect 
to speak further on this hereafter. 

Next we find Him brought before Pilate; we 
shall see what happened there. But before we 
speak of this, we ought to know what was, after all, 
the reason why the chief spiritual and temporal 
rulers at Jerusalem were so highly incensed and 

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imbittered against the Lord that they flock together 
by night, make inquisition concerning Him at an 
unseasonable hour, and are in such uneasy haste to 
have Him destroyed, at the same time being unable 
to allege aught against Him except invented lies. 
It would be too lengthy, however, to relate all this 
now ; each one can read it for himself in the history 
written by the four Evangelists, or learn it during 
the year from the preaching of the Word at Church. 
The Lord Jesus excuses neither the doctrine nor 
the life of these men, but censures both severely. 
Thus He calls them "an evil and adulterous genera- 
tion," a "generation of vipers," and not the children 
of God, which they boast themselves to be, but "the 
children of the devil," because they can neither 
speak, teach, nor do that which is good. And 
shortly previous to this time, before He was taken. 
He gave them a final rebuke, calling down upon 
them, Matt. 23., the eight times uttered "woe!" 
And this it was that enkindled their hatred into 
such consuming flames, that lent cruelty to their 
enmity, and that made them so impetuous in the 
pursuit of their object, that Christ, being now in 
their power, had no opportunity to escape. Still, 
in order to give their savage, murderous hatred a 
plausible appearance, that is, to make it seem that 
their law fully authorized them to kill Christ, the 
high priest, as the Evangelists write, when he heard 
Christ say : "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man 
sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in 
the clouds of heaven;" rent his clothes and said: 
"He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need 
have we of witnesses ? behold, now ye have heard 
His blasphemy. What think ye?" And all the 

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others who were present said: "He is guilty of 
death." Soon after this they began to treat the 
dear Lord Jesus most miserably, not one among 
them having compassion on Him, but all of them 
enraged against Him like raving lions. The 22. 
and other Psalms tell us about this. 

One thing, however, was still in their way. They 
knew very well that Pilate would care very little 
for that which they deemed sufficient cause for 
death ; for He was a Gentile and had not received 
command of the Roman Emperor to execute the 
Jews because of their faith, — else he would have 
had to destroy all of them. For this reason they 
assembled when the morning was come, and, as 
Matthew writes, "took counsel against Jesus to put 
Him to death," that is, they considered what accusa- 
tion they would bring agaiust Him before Pilate. 
For they knew well enough that Pilate would not 
slay Christ on account of His having blasphemed in 
the judgment of the Jews. They found it necessary, 
therefore, to devise some specious, civil charge to 
be presented to Pilate, who was a temporal judge. 
For, by saying that Christ was a blasphemer, they 
could not have broken His neck. 

Let us here see and learn how quick and venom- 
ous Satan is when men stand in need of advice how 
to kill Christ ! The first word spoken by Pilate to 
Christ is his question : "Art Thou the king of the 
Jews ?" This question clearly shows that, in this 
consultation of the Jews, they had agreed, as stated, 
to accuse the Lord Jesus before Pilate of desiring to 
excite sedition and to set Himself .up for the king 
of the Jews. But what ground have they for such 
a charge ? Where has Christ ever called Himself a 

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king? Where ha#He attempted to pass Himself 
off as a lord ? If they had been willing they might, 
on the other hand, have testified how He refused, 
departed and hid Himself, when the people at- 
tempted to take Him by force to make Him a king. 
They might have told too that He had commanded 
them not to keep back from Caesar that which be- 
longed to him, but to render to him his due. Now, 
we must also consider that Pilate could hardly have 
been satisfied with bare accusations, but must cer- 
tainly have demanded proofs. And how were these 
furnished ? No doubt, as follows. They had heard 
Christ confess to the chief priest that He was the 
Christ. Then they took the evidence of the Scrip- 
tures, showing from the Prophets how Christ should 
be a king. For Zechariah says : "Behold thy King 
cometh unto thee; He is just and having salvation, 
&c. ;" and Hosea, in his 3. chapter, "They shall 
seek David their king ;" and many other passages 
express the same. Therefore, since the Lord 
acknowledges Himself to be the Christ, He thereby 
acknowledges Himself to be also the king of the 
Jews. Behold, how accurate the researches of the 
devil ! 

But concerning that which goes against them 
and might serve the Lord Jesua, they are silent. 
Where Zechariah says : * 4 Behold thy King cometh 
unto thee; He is just, and having salvation," he 
immediately adds, "lowly," that is, He shall be a 
spiritual King, who shall justify His own that 
believe in Him, and deliver them from death and 
all evil, that they might have consolation through 
Him against sin and God's wrath, — not a temporal 
king having business with money and possessions. 

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He implies that God has ordainftd other kings who 
Bhould coBtrol nations and individuals and posses* 
opulence and power; but that these kings should 
not impart righteousness and salvation, which gifts 
are brought and bestowed alone by this King, of 
whom the Prophet says, "Behold thy King cometh," 
&c. These villains do not mention a syllable of 
this, but the naked idea that Christ had made Him* 
self the king of the Jews is what they dress up for 
Pilate's sight. Thus Pilate, who would not have 
assisted them had their charge not exceeded what 
it was at first, viz., heresy and blasphemy, was 
beguiled into participating in their work. 

Just so it goes to-day ; for civil governments, at 
any rate, usually have the fault that they care very 
little for the kingdom of God and for religion. 
When kings and princes enjoy allegiance, tribute 
and royal glory, they are careless about everything 
else, and thus are satisfied that Pilate's throne 
should be the only one before which Christ appears. 
But the chief priests and elders of the people, i. e. f 
the blood-thirsty mob composed of Pope, cardinal, 
bishops, monks and priests, come and accuse Christ 
before Pilate ; they instigate the temporal author- 
ities, such as emperors, kings and princes against 
the Gospel, as the Jews incited Pilate against Christ, 
saying that it teaches insurrection and that, unless 
its influence is checked in time, every subject will 
become a rebel. They urge the authorities to 
oppose the Gospel with zeal, if they would not 
have prosperity and happiness to forsake their 
scepter. Yea, these bloody, papal asses preach to. 
the princes that it is the Gospel's fault that the 
Turk assails us and that we are not more successful 

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in repelling him,— -that the Go3pel must be blamed 
for the great failures in our crops and for our being 
surrounded by misfortunes. By this means they 
arouse Pilate, who otherwise is not at all concerned 
about Christ and His preaching, to expose the 
Lord, and finally to command Him to be nailed to 
the cross. 

Now, it cannot be helped that such falsehoods 
and virulent slander bring about painful results. 
But for this very reason have the Evangelists left 
us this history, so that, when like things come upon 
us, we may patiently bear them, saying, My Lord 
Jesus had to suffer the same. The servant is not 
better than his lord. Pilate would have permitted 
Christ to preach and perform miracles all His life, 
and would never have thought of interfering ; but 
the high priests, the heartless horde, bring it to 
pass that Pilate as judge and Christ as criminal are 
brought together. 

And so it is still ; the Lord Jesus' greatest enemies 
are Pope, cardinal, bishops, monks and priests. 
When they have branded as heresy that which does 
not please them, or that which opposes them, they 
seek to hunt down the Gospel through worldly 
potentates ; these latter must be their executioners 
and must, like Pilate, bedaub themselves with inno- 
cent blood, on the accusation and at the solicitation 
of these enemies. Pious Christian, bear it all! 
With thy Lord Jesus too they sported thus. 
Therefore, give thanks to God that thou art counted 
worthy to suffer for His name, as Luke tells us, in 
the 5. chapter of Acts, that the Apostles did ! So 
mueh for the first part of our text 

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The second part relates the terrible example of 
Judas. This the Evangelists so diligently portray- 
that we may, as in a picture, recognize the peculiar 
character and nature of sin, and learn to shun it. 
For in Judas' case we see both how silently sin at 
first creeps in, but also how it afterwards causes 
such a horrible end. 

We have heard, on a former occasion, what a 
seemingly small beginning this monstrous sin of 
Judas had, viz., that it began with his natural 
avarice and love of money. But its real fountain- 
head we find in Judas' being such a godless hpyo- 
crite and such a wicked, desperate despiser of God. 
Thus, when the opportunity to make money out of 
the Lord Jesus presented itself, he regarded it a 
trifling matter to betray his innocent Lord and 
Master. Besides, he thinks it quite a prize that he 
can so soon possess himself of such an amount of 
money. At the Last Supper the Lord admonishes 
Judas so pointedly and so often, that he could not 
have misunderstood Him. But let the Lord preach 
to him and waVu him ever so faithfully, it is all in 
vain ; Judas does not lose sight of his object ; his 
heart is riveted to the thirty pieces of silver! 
What a faithful, stern and earnest warning was not 
that which the Lord Jesus gave him, saying : u He 
that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same 
shall betray me ;" again : "The Son of man goeth 
as it is written of Him ; but woe unto that man by 
whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been 
good for that man if he had not been born!" 
Should not Judas have taken these words to heart? 
Should be not have repented, saying : Great God, 
what have I not suffered the devil to put into my 

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soul, miserable fellow that I am! But he does 
nothing of the kind; on the contrary, when he is 
so faithfully warned, he even asks whether his in- 
tentions are known. He puts the question : "Mas- 
ter, is it I ?" The Lord answers him : "Thou hast 
said," i. e., yes, thou art he. But this matter, as 
already said, gave him no care nor trouble, because 
it was the means by which he could obtain so much 

This should be remembered ; for if we wish a 
correct picture of sin it must be painted as seeming 
at first sight an indifferent, simple thing, which is 
not at all dangerous. In committing sin men do 
not concern themselves about God's wrath; they 
fear no misfortune and they regard sin not as a 
burden, but as a little feather which a breath can 
balance in the air or drive away. Therefore, when 
sin assails us we do not fear it ; yea, we rejoice in it 
and love it, and we even think that the more we 
can sin in doing our work, the better our work 
shall be done. Suppose we illustrate this by the 
case of an avaricious usurer, an adulterer or a 
drunkard. Upon such Paul passes an appalling 
judgment, when he says, 1 Cor. 6: "Be not deceived; 
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, 
nor covetous, nor drunkards shall inherit the king- 
dom of God." This terrible decree is written here, 
is preached too, and the very ones who are subject 
to such vices get to hear it ; but they accept it no 
more than Judas accepted it. Could they only 
dispose of their property so as to make it yield them 
twenty or thirty percent; could only their evil 
desires be satisfied ; could they only have gay com- 
panions every day and be jolly and drunk every 

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night, — then would they think themselves very 
fortunate and, neither caring for nor grieving over 
the judgment pronounced upon them, be in good 
spirits, and perfectly merry. 

This is spoken for the common people who 
grossly tread in Judas' footsteps. But exceedingly 
dreadful it is that to-day the Pope and his minions 
persecute and condemn God's Word, the acknowl- 
edged truth, invent many base and blasphemous 
lies against this Word, and induce worldly potent- 
ates to use their power against it and to exterminate 
the truth of God and all who hold it, so that Judas' 
trade may be made to flourish as formerly. And 
then they are so utterly blind and obdurate that 
their conscience does not trouble them, and that 
they thiuk it would be an excellent thing to over- 
flow this land with blood. What blindness, — what 
diabolical enmity against Christ's Word and the 
true Church ! But more of this hereafter. 

Adam preached the same thing to Cain, his son, 
and warned him against sin, when he perceived 
what hatred there was in his heart toward his 
brother Abel. He says to him, Gen. 4 : "If thou 
doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou 
doest not well, sin lieth at the door." By this he 
meant to say : Make thyself well acquainted with 
sin; for when it attacks a man it always is as a 
wiid, rapacious beast, which pretends to be asleep 
and lets men handle and stroke it; no one fears 
and no one is hurt. Even as innocent as this does 
sin seem. It is a smooth, pretty kitten, which per- 
mits itself to be played with and caressed. But be 
careful, saith Adam ; it sleeps, indeed, but will not 

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sleep forever. "Why not ? Because it "lieth at the 
door," in a public place, where every one comes 
and goes; nothing easier, therefore, than that it 
should awake. And then it will be a furious lion, 
an angry bear, tearing to pieces and destroying all 
in its way. Now, as Adam had foretold to Cain, 
so it came. Adam commanded him to conquer sin, 
and not let sin rule and lead him. But Cain gave 
no heed ; he let sin have its own way ; he slew his 
brother. Sin did not rest long here ; its sleep was 
soon over, and then it tortured Cain until he did 
not know where to stay. He dared not remain with 
his father and mother, and besides, had fears for his 
body and his life. 

Let us mark well this second characteristic of 
sin ! At first it sleeps and seems a trifling, harmless 
thing. But it sleeps not long, and when it awakes 
it becomes a grievous burden which we cannot bear 
without God's special help. This we see in the 
case of the traitor Judas. While sin rested, it was 
impossible for him to fear; the glossy fur deceived 
him so, that he did not perceive the sharp, poison- 
ous claws. But its rest could not last a great while, 
for it lay at the door where it could be easily waked. 
Where all pleading and all admonition failed before, 
now a single moment comes and drives such terror 
to his soul that he knows not what to do. For 
when he sees the Lord led to Pilate he fears that 
the Lord's life is imperiled, is sorry, and now per- 
ceives, for the first time, what he has done. Now 
sin awakes and, according to its natural way, acts 
with such fury and horror that he cannot bear it. 
Before, he so loved the thirty pieces of silver that, 
for the sake of having them, he could betray and 

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sell the Lord Jesus without a pang; now, the mat- 
ter stands reversed. If he nOw had the money and 
wealth of all the world, he would give it all to save 
the Lord Jesus' life. Since it was love of money 
that made him so miserable, and his purpose to 
possess it that brought this sin upon him, he now 
hates money so, that he has neither rest nor peace 
in its possession, but runs after the high priests 
into the temple, confesses that he has done wrong, 
and offers to give them back the money if they will 
only liberate Jesus. And when the chief priests 
will not do this, to get rid of the money at all 
events he casts it down at their feet. Now, this is 
the peculiar character of sin ; when it awakes it so 
violently attacks conscience and preaches a sermon 
of such horrors that the frightened heart knows not 
what to do and what not to do. And sin inflicts 
the further calamity, that, as little as is the consola- 
tion which the poor creature finds in himself, so 
little too is the comfort he derives from others. 
Judas honestly tells the chief priests his troubles. 
Alas, he says, "I have sinned, — I have betrayed the 
innocent blood !" But how do they console him ? 
"What is that to us? see thou to that," they tell 
him. They shove everything over to the shoulders 
of Judas, and let the intolerable load lie there, 
unwilling in the least to help the poor, frightened 
soul with words of consolation or of counsel. 

Now follows the third and last calamity. For 
when it so happens that sin persists in castigating 
conscience, the devil does not loiter, but pokes and 
blows the fire until -the red flames rage within, and 
all attempts at rescue seem vain. In such fear 
and agony Judas is urged on by Satan until he 

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goes out quickly, and in his misery hangs himself. 
Now, this is the end which Satan from the begin- 
ning sought to bring about by sin. He who could, 
at the beginning, consider and credit this end, 
would surely pray and guard against it. But it is 
hidden ; sin is very quiet, and does not disclose in 
the start what its final object is. So much for the 
history of poor, unhappy Judas, who for a trifle 
sold the Lord Jesus, and who not only did not enjoy 
this money, but also lost on its account body, life, 
soul and salvation. 

Therefore, study welt this example, and let its 
memory nevermore depart; for it is to help me and 
you and all of us to an accurate knowledge of sin, 
and to serve us as a shield against it. If we do not 
mark this example and learn from it to know sin, 
we are liable to be deceived by sin and are exposed 
to the damage which it does. For, in the first 
place, it is the nature of sin so to flatter and please 
the old Adam that he delights in it and loves it; 
but this lasts only until sin awakes. Then, in the 
second place, follow trouble, toil, fear, danger, ter- 
rors, tremblings, despair and, finally, eternal death. 
Let us recognize these two features of sin from the 
case of Judas, and not suffer ourselves to be deluded 
like the world, which accepts neither instruction 
nor reproof, being deceived by sin's beautiful, fair 
and cheerful countenance ! Many a citizen, peasant 
and nobleman knows how to make an easy living. 
If he has anything for sale, he tries to get the 
highest price. When he buys, he tries to buy as 
cheap as possible. He is not content with what his 
houses have brought him hitherto, but raises the 

rent. And When he disposes of money, wheat or 

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other commodities, he has an eye to his hest in- 
terests. Such a course Soothes and pleases our 
Adam's nature. Every one thinks his shrewdness 
to have been admirable when he, by some means or 
other, has obtained and laid by in one year, say one, 
two or three hundred dollars, according to the 
nature of his business. Hence we see every one 
pursuing his daily bread, and this with all manner 
of haste. 

This is the very sin ot which Judas was guilty in 
the beginning of his career. The world to-day 
does just as Judas did ; it does not fear this sin and 
thinks there is no danger in it. But why? Simply 
because sin rests and sleeps and rarely shows its 
nature in the start. Sin paints and adorns itself; it 
puts on the mask of beauty and of youth ; in this 
way it hides its hideousness. But if we could at 
once unmask it and wash off its paint with strong 
lye, we would run away from it as from the devil. 
No one would consent to extortion and addict him- 
self to avarice, if he knew what the consequence 
will be when sin begins to rack the conscience and 
when remorse comes. For the numerous examples 
which we have, prove that people who pursue only 
money and possessions, cannot in the last hour 
abandon their accustomed course of thought. In 
that hour their hearts are closed to all consolation 
from God's Word, for their thoughts are even then 
rambling through the counting-room, the market 
and the warehouse, and engaged with this or that 
debt not yet collected. In short, thorns have so 
enclosed them that they cannot flee ; or else their 
consciences are so molested as to make them totally 
unfit for taking comfort. 

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What has been said applies not only to the bag 
of Juda^L e., avarice, but to all sins. For, no 
matter where it sleeps, sin finally must awake, and 
it always then creates such wretchedness as was 
that of Judas. Still, this is done especially ia the 
true disciples of Judas, who, for the sake of money 
and possessions, oppose the Word of God, persecute 
the Gospel, and give occasion for false doctrine and 
idolatry. Such disciples are the Pope, his cardinals, 
bishops, worthless lords, priests, monks, doctors 
and the like, who crowd around Judas' bag and 
fight for it. No wonder, for this bag is not prickly 
and thorny, but its touch is very soft and velvety ; 
in other words, the world loudly applauds those 
who have succeeded in securing sufficient means for 
living at ease and in splendor. Besides, it seems a 
trifle to violate the Word of God in this respect or 
that, thus sinning against the acknowledged truth, 
and to act contrary to one's convictions; yea, it 
seems an easy thing for the prebendary who occu- 
pies the cathedral, and for the minister who moder- 
ates himself, to justify their unwillingness to speak 
the truth openly. For the world and the devil pay 
big wages for such work. But when sin awakes, 
the little, black, rabid dog, Remorse, will surely 
come, and touch and terrify thy conscience so, that 
thou shalt find consolation nowhere, and thus be 
hurled into despair by the machinations of the devil. 
Then shalt thou have received the same reward with 

It were well, therefore, to consider this danger in 
time, to forego bishoprics, canonries, Epicureanism 
and the like, to resolve to be a Christian, to further 
land confess God's Word, and to walk before God 

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with a clear conscience. Even if we had no super- 
abundance of bread, God would still gjye us our 
daily, bread and not suffer us to starve, tor He says: 
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these 
things shall be added unto you." 

The following, therefore, is what this history 
teaches. Since sin, at first, is quiet and sleeps, but 
afterward awakes and fills conscience with all 
misery, by which Satan then drives his victims into 
despair, we should beware of sin, do nothing against 
our better knowledge and, besides, ask God daily, 
yea, every moment, for His Holy Spirit, that He 
may not lead us into temptation, but mercifully 
save us from falling and shield us from sin. It has 
already been stated that we are not apprehensive of 
the evil results of sin, because sin is not awake in 
the beginning, but sleeps, and that deception and 
ruin, therefore, are very near us. For this reason 
we ought to pray without ceasing, and be very 
careful everywhere, so that sin may not steal upon 
us unawares. 

But when the fall has occurred and we have been 
deceived, and when sin, which slept at first, now 
awakes, appears to us and upbraids us, we must be 
prepared for this encounter, and from the example 
of Judas we can learn how to be prepared. For 
how clearly do we not see what was the matter 
with Judas ! Satan converted his sin into a mount- 
ain so huge and lofty that it shut out from his sight 
God, together with His Word, His promises and His* 
mercy ; hence, he simply despairs. Now, when we 
trace this confusion back to its origin, can we deny 
that Judas could have consoled himself even in 
such great distress, had he not set at naught God's 

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Word, but more eagerly studied and obeyed it? 
Having always despised and neglected the Word, is 
it to be wondered at that now, when he stands in 
need of its comfort and aid he must do without them? 
Therefore, as we must, on the one hand, guard our- 
selves, with godliness and constant prayer, against 
sleeping sin, so that we may not be deceived and 
seduced; so also, on the other hand, when sin 
awakes, and chastises and disturbs us, we must 
defend and support ourselves with the Holy Gospel. 
This Gospel shows us Christ as Him who suffered 
and made satisfaction for the sins of the whole 
world. And in this Gospel we find that God, the 
Almighty Creator and Father, desires not the death 
of a sinner ; but that He does desire the sinner to 
return and live, that is, to acknowledge and lament 
his sins and to hope for forgiveness through the 
Lord Jesus. But Judas had not these Gospel gifts ; 
hence he despaired. 

Again, Peter also fell shamefully, and experienced 
such pangs as those of Judas. Sin slept at first ; in 
other words, his denying Christ did not seem spe- 
cially dangerous to Peter ; but it finally awakes and 
so torments his heart that he cannot sufficiently 
bewail his fall, or, as the Evangelists have it, "He 
went out and wept bitterly." But why is it that 
Peter does not hang himself like Judas ? Simply 
because Peter, no doubt, remembered the Word of 
the Lord Jesus; this saved him. He must have 
remembered that the Lord had prophesied to him 
that he should fall, and also that He had comforted 
him, saying, as we read Luke 22., "Simon, Simon, 
behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he 
may sift you as wheat : but I have prayed for thee, 

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that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, 
strengthen thy brethren." 

This sermon Peter heard and kept. This Word 
was the staif that supported him; sin could not 
now crush him to earth ; had it been otherwise, sin 
would have done with him as it did with Judas. 
God's Word saved him. O, learn this well, and 
thus be prepared for like emergencies ; hear God's 
Word frequently ; never go to bed and never rise 
from sleep without repeating one, two, three or 
four of its beautiful passages ! 

Christ says, Matt. 9: "I am not come to call the 
righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matt. 11 : 
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke 
upon you, and learn of me ; for I am meek and 
lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souk. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 
Jno. 3 : "For God so loved the world, that He gave 
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in 
Him should not perish, but have everlasting lite. 
For God sent not His Son into the world to con- 
demn the world ; but that the world through Him: 
might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not 
condemned." Again, Jno. 3: "The Father loveth 
the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. 
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life : 
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life : 
but the wrath of God abideth on him." Jno. 5 : 
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my 
word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath ever- 
lasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, 
but is passed from death unto life." Jno. 11 : "I 
am the resurrection, and the lite : he that believeth- 

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on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." 
1 Jno. 2 : "If any man sin, we have an advocate 
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and 
He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for 
ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." 
If we daily practice such and similar passages, and 
by practicing familiarize ourselves with them, we 
then possess the infallible j^medy for all spiritual 
ailments. But unhappy Judas had not this remedy 
at hand. 

We have more such examples. Dreadful was 
the fall of David ; his was a more heinous sin than 
were the sins which king Saul committed in the 
beginning of his apostasy. How, then, are we to 
account for it that Saul cuts his throat, while David 
finds deliverance? Saul had not God's Word; 
therefore, when sin raged and reproached him, he 
could not defend himself; for he had nothing on 
which to lay hold. Sin, when it awaked, reproached 
David also, and with such severity that he himself 
pronounced his judgment, saying, that he had 
deserved to die. But in this time of need he holds 
to the word. of the prophet Nathan, who tells him 
that God is gracious, and that He will not impute 
to him his sin. Let us, then, learn well this second 
lesson taught us here, viz., not only to shun sin, 
but also, when sin awakes, to be able to contend 
with it and to protect ourselves. But during our 
whole life we must prepare for such distress, equip- 
ping ourselves with the Word of God, else we shall 
have no aid nor counsel, as Judas' case shows 
plainly. How Judas rejoiced at first over the thirty 
pieces of silver! They were in his sight as a 
meadow mown, for sin rested not. But when sin 

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awoke, these thirty pieces of silver became a burden 
which he could not bear, and so, to relieve his con- 
science of this load, he hanged himself. All he 
effected by this means, however, was, that he had 
to bear the burden in eternity. Of such an end 
beware ; do not let sin creep in ; live in the fear of 
God; keep conscience clear, and attentively hear 
God'.s Word : then consolation shall be thine in 
need of every kind ! 

The Evangelists further relate that the chief 
priests took counsel about the thirty pieces of silver. 
They would not put them into the treasury, but 
bought with them the potter's field, of which they 
made a burial-place for strangers. The prophecy, 
of which this was the fulfillment, does not appear 
remarkable. However, since the Evangelist takes 
the pains to quote that which the prophet Zechariah 
had predicted long before, the prophecy cannot be 
meaningless, but must have its peculiar significa- 
tion. The following is, no doubt, its proper expla- 

The citizens of Jerusalem had their cemeteries, 
while strangers, as we see here, had none. Now, 
in the true Jerusalem, the Christian Church, we 
find that the Jews, according to the 147. Psalm, are 
God's people : "He showeth His Word unto Jacob." 
But to us Gentiles, who are strangers, the kingdom 
of God does not belong ; - for the same Psalm con- 
tinues to sing: "He hath not dealt so with any 
nation," &c. But the thirty pieces of silver, for 
which our dear Lord Jesus was sold, have bought 
a burial-place for us pilgrims too ; that is, the inno- 
cent sufferings and death of Christ have blessed us 
Gentiles also with the hope of everlasting life. For 

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the Lord had to hleed and die in consequence of 
being sold for thirty pieces of silver. Therefore, 
the Evangelist teaches us from the Prophets that 
we should not forget for whom the Lord was sold, 
for whom He suffered, and for whom He died. It 
was not alone for His people, to whom He had been 
promised, but also for us Gentiles, who before had 
no final resting-place in the true Jerusalem. Those 
thirty pieces of silver, which Judas received for 
Christ, have bought us a share in the acre of our 
God. Now we shall be laid into that glorious 
grave, bed-chamber magnificent, from which our 
Lord Jesus will call us forth on the judgment-day, 
when He shall also give us everlasting joy. May 
our dear Father in heaven grant us this through 
His Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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Christ Accused before Pilate and Condemned 
to Death. 

Matt. 27, 11-31. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the 
governor asked Him, saying, Art Thou the King of the Jews? And 
Jesus said unto him, Thou say est. And when He was accused of the 
chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto 
Him, Hearest Thou not bow many things they witness against Thee? 
And He answered him to never a word ; insomuch that the governor 
marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to 
release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had 
then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were 
gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release 
unto you ? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ ? For he knew 
that for envy they had delivered Him. When he was set down on the 
judgment seat, bis wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to 
do with that. just man : for I have suffered many things this day in a 
dream because of Him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the 
multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The 
governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye 
that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto 
them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They 
all say unto him, Let Him be crucified. And the governor said, 
Why, what evil hath He done? But they cried out the more, saying, 
Let Him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, 
but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his 
hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this 
just persou : see ye to it. Then auswered all the people, and said, 
His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas 
unto them : and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be 
crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the com- 
mon hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And 
they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when they 
had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed 
in His right hand ; and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked 
Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews ! And they spit upon Him, and 
took the reed, and smote Him on the head. And after that they had 
mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own rai- 
ment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. 

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Mil a recent sermon you heard, dear friends, how 
the Lord Jesus was tried before the chief 
priest. We are now ready to learn what happened 
Him after He was delivered to Pilate. Each Evan- 
gelist has his own way of relating these things and 
does not go into all the details, but one states this, 
another that, for which reason it is necessary to 
compile the items stated by each, and then to relate 
these items in their historical order. 

The first item is furnished by the Evangelist 
John, who says that when, early in the morning, 
they led Jesu^ from the palace of Caiaphas unto 
the hall of judgment, they themselves went not in, 
lest they should be defiled and become disqualified 
to eat the passover. Since they were required to 
separate themselves from those as unclean who 
accidentally entered a house in which some one 
had died, they concluded that it might defile them 
to go into the judgment hall, in which the sentence 
of death was pronounced. It did not occur to these 
blind people that it was a far greater sin to shed 
innocent blood. Such holiness prevails among our 
Papists too, who think that eating flesh on Friday 
or eggs in the passion-week is a much greater sin 
than to persecute and strangle poor Christians for 
the Gospel's sake. They go about the latter with 
hearts as light as though it were a trifle. But 
about the former, which is no sin at all, but merely 
a human prohibition, they are exceedingly con- 
scientious. Since these holy people refuse to go 
into the hall of judgment, Pilate was constrained to 
go out to them. He asked them : "What accusa- 
tion bring ye against this man ?" Impudently and 

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with arrogance they reply : "If He were not a male- 
factor, we would not have delivered Him up unto 
thee." Just as if they were so upright and pious 
that we should not suppose them capable of under- 
taking anything wrong! But Pilate meets them 
nobly when he says: "Take ye Him, and judge 
Him according to your law." This was as much as 
saying: It is not customary with us Romans to 
judge a man without first trying him; but if you 
Jews think it is right to do so, why, you may take 
and kill Him, but I will not. Thus we clearly see 
that the Jews, after they had taken all necessary 
counsel, still have no confidence in themselves; 
they fear that their accusation will not stand the 
test. Nevertheless, they are unwilling to accept 
Pilate's decision without a reply, for it stung them 
to the quick, and therefore they answer : "It is not 
lawful for us to put any man to death." This 
meant: If we had the authority to do this, we 
should not have called on you ; but the Emperor 
has taken criminal jurisdiction away from us and 
confided it to you ; therefore, act according to your 

John adds here : "That the saying of Jesus might 
be fulfilled, which He spake, signifying what death 
He should die." For, as we read Matthew 20. and 
Luke 17., Christ had foretold to His disciples that 
He should be delivered to the Gentiles. For the 
sake, however, of having a charge to make, i hey 
accused Him, as Luke writes, in these words : "We 
found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbid- 
ding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Him- 
self is Christ a king." Here we hear why they 
delivered Him to Pilate. But the account suffi- 

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ciently shows how basely they belie our dear Lord. 
Christ could, indeed, have strongly confuted them 
by referring them to His words : "Render therefore 
unfo Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto 
God the things that are God's;" but what good 
would it have done ? He had to suffer Himself to 
be accused of being a rebel, of turning the nation 
away from the Emperor, of forbidding the paying 
of tribute, and of desiring to be a king. 

Just so, at this day, the Pope, cardinals, bishops, 
monks and priests calumniate the holy Gospel, 
charging it with teaching sedition, and saying that 
unless it is opposed the temporal power will come 
into disrepute and no one will respect it. But let 
this not offend thee ; thank God that thou knowest 
that they, the desperate miscreants, most invidious 
foes of the Lord Jesus and most malignant blas- 
phemers of Christ's Gospel, lie! For the Gospel 
deals with other and loftier things : it teaches how 
we can be freed from sin and attain to eternal life, 
alone by believing in the Son of God. This is the 
character of the instructions given us by the Gospel; 
it does not meddle with worldly things, leaves these 
bo to remain as God has already disposed of them 
by means of the temporal government, and exhorts 
to obedience to this government v 

When Pilate now had heard the accusation, he 
was in no haste to act upon it, but, as John says, 
entered* into the judgment hall again, ordered Jesus 
to be brought before him and asked Him, saying : 
"Art Thou the king of the Jews ?" Jesus answered 
him: "Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did 
others tell it thee of me ?" As though He would 
«ay : O, if my enemies would acquit me, you would 

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soon <Jo so too ; for I know that you do not regard 
me as a king nor as one who would be likely to 
make an uproar. 

"Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thine owu 
nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee 
unto me; what hast Thou done? Jesus answered, 
My kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom 
were of this world, then would my servants fight, 
that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but 
now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate there- 
fore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then ? Jesus 
answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this 
end was I born, and for this cause came I into the 
world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. 
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 
Pilate saith unto Him, what is truth ?" As if he 
would say : If Thou art a king Bent to bear witness 
unto the truth, we have no reason to fear Thee; 
for, with this as Thy object, Thou wilt not injure 
the Emperor. The proud Gentile meant to say, in 
other words : Truth is not the cause of a great deal 
of strife. And this is only too true, and especially 
in these evil and latter days does truth go begging. 
It is deceitfulness, fraud, avarice, usury and the 
like that elevate a man in these times. But what 
is gained by these in the end will soon be seen. 

When Pilate had sufficiently examined the Lord, 
he went out again unto the Jews and said : "I find 
in Him no fault at all," — "I have found no fault ia 
this man." But the Jews, as Luke relates, "were 
the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, 
teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from 
Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, 
he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And 

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as soon as he knew that He belonged unto Herod's 
jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself 
also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when 
Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad ; for he 
was desirous to see Him of a long season, because 
he had heard many things of Him ; and he hoped 
to have seen some miracle done by Him. Then hfc 
questioned with Him in many words; but He 
answered him nothing. And the chief priests and 
scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. And 
Herod with his men of war set Him at naught, and 
mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, 
and sent Him again to Pilate. And the same day 
Pilate and Herod were made friends together ; for 
before they were at enmity between themselves." 

Here some might wonder why the Lord converses 
so with Pilate, giving him all information, but 
refuses to speak one word with Herod, who, besides, 
was king of Galilee. The true reason for this we 
find in Herod's being a totally abandoned scoundrel 
and, at the same time, a great hypocrite. He had 
lately caused John the Baptist to be beheaded, and 
lived a life of public scandal by having his brother 
Philip's wife, and still pretended to be exceedingly 
pious. For this reason the Lord, in the Gospel, 
calls him a fox, — an animal of which the fur is the 
only valuable part, — a ravenous, but still a very 
cunning animal. Such people are not worthy of 
intercourse with others ; they are hypocrites who 
adopt holy faces and gentle speech, as it is written 
of Herod in Mark 6., where it says that he "feared 
John, knowing that he was a just man and a holy; 
.... and when he heard him, he did many things, 
and heard him gladly." But such people are not 

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in earnest. Scoffers they are, who regard the Gos- 
pel as a fable, and who look upon the Christian as 
a great fool for offending great lords and endanger- 
ing his possessions by his faith. Let every one, 
therefore, avoid such people, and do as Christ here 
did with Herod, have no communication with them. 

This also is worthy of observation here that just 
as Pilate aud Herod, who„ before were enemies, now 
become friends by their contact with Christ the 
Lord, even so do we see men act in our day. Men 
who could not be reconciled among themselves 
before, are harmonious in their opposition to the 
Gospel. One bishop cannot agree with another, 
and one order cannot be friendly toward another 
order. Princes are dissatisfied with each other. 
Each one wishes to be the best, to have the prefer- 
ence, and to oppress and silence all the rest. But 
when Christ comes among them and His Gospel 
shows its might, they all unite, are the best friends 
in the world, and stand together with their goods 
and lives, as David prophesied long ago in the 2. 

After the Lord was brought again from Herod to 
Pilate, "Pilate," so says Luke, "when he had called 
together the chief priests and the rulers and the 
people, said unto them, Ye have brought this man 
unto me, as one that perverteth the people ; and 
behold, I, having examined Him before you, have 
found no fault in this man touching those things 
whereof ye accuse Him ; no, nor yet Herod ; for I 
sent you to him ; and lo, nothing worthy of death 
is done unto Him. I will therefore chastise Him 
and release Him. (For of necessity he must release 
one unto them at the feast.)" 

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"And they had then/' says Matthew, as we have 
heard, "a notable prisoner, called Barabbas." Him 
Pilate places before the Jews, together with Christ, 
that the Jews might choose between the two, 
hoping that no one would ask for Barabbas, as he 
was a great rebel and murderer, well worthy of 

"But the chief priests and elders persuaded the 
multitude that they should ask Barabbas." "And," 
so Luke proceeds, "they cried out all at once, say- 
ing, Away with this man and release unto us Bar- 
abbas ; (who for a certain sedition made in the city, 
and for murder, was cast into prison.) Pilate, 
therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to 
them. But they cried, saying, Crucify Him, crucify 
Him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, 
what evil hath He done? I have found no cause 
of death in Him; I will therefore chastise Him, and 
let Him go. And they were instant with loud 
voices, requiring that He might be crucified." 

Matthew writes that when Pilate "was set down 
on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, say- 
ing, Have thou nothing to do with that just man; 
for I have suffered many things this day in a dream 
because of Him." 

And this was, indeed, an excellent warning, sent 
perhaps by some good angel, who, in a dream, 
announced to Pilate's wife the misfortunes and 
-calamities which Pilate would bring upon himself 
and his house in case he should listen to the Jews 
And, at their command, destroy the innocent Jesus. 
But as admonitions were useless and vain in Judas' 
case, so did they at last avail nothing with Pilate. 
Nevertheless, he resists the Jews for a while. The 

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Jews, to whom Christ was promised, wish the most 
villainous murderer to live, but Him, the Prince of 
life, they are in haste to slay. Since in this way- 
Pilate's proposition to "let Him go" is discouraged, 
Pilate makes still another effort: he takes Jesus 
and scourges Him, as the Evangelists continue to 

"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus 
into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the 
whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him," 
"and scourged Him," "and put on Him a scarlet 
robe. And when they had platted a crown of 
thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in 
His right hand" instead of a scepter; "and they 
bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him," 
"and began to salute Him," "6aying, Hail, King of 
the Jews!" and smote Him in the face. "And 
they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote 
Him on the head," "and bowing their knees wor- 
shiped Him." 

Here and throughout the entire Passion-history 
you will observe, dear Christian, how Satan poured 
out all his poisonous, bitter, hellish hatred, rage 
and fury upon our dear Lord in such a way that 
surely no human being ever has endured such great 
and dreadful suffering, torture, insult, abuse and 
derision as the Son of God ; and this He bore for 
the sake of my sin, thy sin and the sin of all the 
world. But now, since the suffering and death of 
Christ are the only sacrifice that was able to expiate 
sin, it is easy to calculate how immensely great and 
terrible God's wrath against sin must be ; and also, 
how ineffably, yea, unfathomably great must be His 
grace and mercy toward us condemned beings,— 

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that grace and mercy whereby He gave His only 
begotten Son to die an ignominious death upon the 
cross for our sins. 

Now it was customary among the Romans to 
beat malefactors before executing them ; for which 
reason Pilate commanded Christ also to be scourged. 
At the same time he still hopes and labors to 
liberate the Lord. Therefore he led Jesus forth, 
after the soldiers had scourged Him and put on 
Him the purple robe and the <^wn of thorns, and 
said to the* Jews: "Behold, I bring Him forth to 
you, that ye may know that I find no fault in Him." 

"Then," says John, "came Jesus forth, wearing 
the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And 
Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man !" meaning 
by this : You should be satisfied with such punish- 
ment as this, seeing that your accusations are so 
groundless and His innocence is so evident. But 
neither did he succeed in this way. 

As soon as the chief priests and their officers saw 
Jesus, and perceived that Pilate still sought to 
acquit Him, "they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, 
crucify Him." Pilate was displeased with such 
great injustice, "for," as we are informed by 
Matthew, "he knew that for envy they had delivered 
Him." Therefore he answers them bluntly : "Take 
ye Him and crucify Him; for I find no fault in 
Him. The, Jews answered him, We have a law, 
and by our law He ought to die, because He made 
Himself the Son of God." 

"When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he 
was the more afraid; and went again into the 
judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art 
Thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then 

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saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest Thou not unto me? 
knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify 
Thee, and have power to release Thee? Jesus 
answered, Thou couldest have no power at all 
against me, except it were given thee from above ; 
therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the 
greater sin." 

And this was also a powerful warning. For 
Pilate here went too far, thinking that in virtue of 
his authority Jesus' fate was in his hands, to be 
decided for or against Him at his own pleasure, as 
temporal authorities in such pride commit many 
sins. No, Pilate, says Christ, you overdo this 
matter; keep within proper bounds. If you have 
power, you have it not of yourself; power comes 
from above. Therefore, use your power in such a 
manner that you may know how to give an account 
of its exercise, Pilate accepts this admonition, and 
seeks the more how he might release Him. But 
the Jews would not hear of such a thing and "cried 
out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not 
Caesar's friend ; whosoever maketh himself a king 
speaketh against Csesar." 

"When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he 
brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment 
seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in 
the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the prepara- 
tion of the passover, and about the sixth hour," i. e., 
about noon. "And he saith unto the Jews, Behold 
your King!" in other words, You still maintain 
that He had made Himself a king. Alas, for the 
king ! You do Him great injustice. Does He look 
like a king or like a seditious person ? But all was 
vain ; "They cried out, Away with Him, away witl* 

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Him, crucify Him! Pilate saith unto them, Shall 
I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, 
We have no king but Caesar." 

. "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, 
but that rather a tumult was made," he was "will- 
ing to content the people" and "gave sentence that 
it should be as they required," and "took water, 
and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 
I am innocent of the blood of this just person ; see 
ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, 
His blood be on us, and on our children ;" that ia, 
if we do Him wrong, then may we and our children 
be punished for it. "Then released he Barabbas 
unto them ? " — "him that for sedition and murder 
was cast into prison, whom they had desired ; but 
he delivered Jesus," mocked and scourged, "to their 
will," "to be crucified." These are the things that 
happened the Lord Jesus before Pilate. 

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Explanation op Several Points in the History 
just Given, 

%is part of the history of our Lord Jesus 
furnishes us with many excellent points of 
Christian doctrine, laden with consolation. Since, 
however, the material presented here is too much 
for one sermon, and the narrative itself is suffi- 
ciently lengthy, we shall dwell only on three points. 
The first is this : Pilate and others frequently testify 
to the innocence of our dear Lord Jesus. The 
second : Christ witnessed a good confession before 
Pilate, — which is also highly extolled by St. Paul, 
1 Tim. 6. The third : Both Pilate and the Jews 
treat the blood of the Lord as a trifle, but it after- 
ward becomes an intolerable and everlasting bur- 
den, which sinks them into temporal and eternal 

With reference to the first point, you must have 
noticed throughout that Pilate always insists upon 
it that he finds no cause of death in Christ. His 
wife also sent unto him, telling him to have nothing 
to do with that just and innocent man. Pilate 
moreover discovers, from all the actions of the Jews 
and by diligent investigation, that the chief priests 
and elders were moved against Christ by nothing 
but malice and envy. Similar testimony, but in 
greater measure and more powerful, was borne after 
the death of Christ. Great and glorious miracles 
then were wrought. The sun lost his lustre and 

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deep darkness reigned, the vail of the temple was 
rent in twain, the earth did quake, the rocks rent, 
the graves were opened, and many bodies of the 
saints arose. Then the centurion openly confessed: 
"Certainly this was a righteous man." And all 
the people present, beholding and taking to heart 
the things which were done, smote their breasts, to 
signify that the rash execution of the dear, innocent 
Lord gave them pain. 

But of what use is this testimony ? Why do the 
Evangelists so carefully relate it ? Without a doubt, 
their only object is to point us to the counsel and 
will of God, and to admonish us to consider why 
the Lord, being innocent and just, had to suffer so. 
In other words, they wish, in view of the abundant 
proof that Christ was innocent and did not deserve 
to die, to make us firmer in our faith. They desire 
to convince us that whatever our blessed Lord 
Jesus suffered, He suffered for us \. and that God 
laid these afflictions upon Him, and, although He 
was innocent, would not remove them, so that, by 
His bearing them, sin might be removed from us 
and wcf might be reconciled again to God. 

Whenever, therefore, we read in any part of the 
Passion history how unjustly the Jews and Gentiles 
treated the Lord Jesus, how they smote Him before 
the high priest, set Him at naught before Herod, 
and mocked and scourged Him in the judgment 
hall, — whenever, I say, we hear of such treatment, 
no matter where it is recorded, our thoughts must 
run thus: Behold, He is innocent; He does not 
bear this for Himself; He has not merited this. 
But I and you and all of us have deserved this 
suffering; death and every misfortune did rest upon 

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us because of sin ; but here the innocent and holy 
Bon of God appears, takes upon Himself my debts, 
thy debts, and the debts of all of us, and discharges 
them, so that we might be free. When these are 
our thoughts we shall have such comfort that our 
hearts canuot despair on account of their sin, and 
that we shall not flee from God as though He were 
a tyrant or an executioner; but that we shall turn 
unto Him with heart-felt confidence and praise and 
glorify His mercy, which, as Paul says in the 5. 
chap, of Romans, He commendeth toward us in 
that He delivered His only begotten Son, our Lord 
and Saviour, unto death, to die for us sinners. 
Who could or would doubt that God's intentions 
toward us are good and altogether gracious? 

Sin had subjected all of us to the wrath of God 
and to death, and had transferred us into Satan's 
kingdom ; eternal life was lost, and in its place had 
been inherite4 every calamity for time and for 
eternity. But our Father, merciful and gracious, 
comes to our relief, and, rather than permit us to 
remain in such misery, sends His only begotten 
Son, born of a virgin and made under the law, so 
that the law, although flesh and blood were unable 
to do God's will, might not have been given in 
vain, but might be fulfilled by this Man for all other 
men. And finally God suffers Him to die upon 
the cross, by His innocent death to atone for our 
sins, so that we, being released from eternal death 
and from the kingdom of Satan, might receive 
eternal life and be the children of God. 

Believing that this was done on thy account and 
for thy welfare, take it as thine own and let it 
comfort thee. And well may we do this ; for here 

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we bear not oiice, not twice, but many times, that 
all that Jesus suiters He suffers innocently. But 
why does God tolerate this, yea, why does He 
ordain and bring it about? Simply that thou 
mightest be comforted in Christ. He does not 
suiter for Himself, but for thee and for all mankind, 
even as John says : "He is the propitiation for our 
sins : and not for ours only, but also for- the sins of 
the whole world." For this reason John the Bap- 
tist calls Him "The Lamb of God, which taketh 
away the sin of the world," that is, a divinely 
appointed Sacrifice, who takes the sin of all the 
world upon Himself, so that this sin may rest upon 
the world no longer. This accounts for the seem- 
ing inconsistency. He is the Son of God, perfectly 
holy and altogether without sin, and therefore it 
were but just that He should not be subject to the 
curse and to death. We are sinners and under the 
curse and wrath of God, and therefore it were but 
just that we should suffer death and damnation. 
But God has reversed this relation ; He who knows 
no sin, who is altogether merciful, and in whom, as 
John says, dwells the fullness of God's grace, was 
made a curse for us and had to bear sin's punish- 
ment, while we, through Him, have obtained mercy 
and have become the children of God. We should, 
therefore, cling to this consolation and take special 
delight in such testimony for Christ's innocence. 
For what Christ innocently suffered was caused by 
our sins. Therefore His innocence comforts us 
against all sin and suffering; for His innocence is a 
sure and lasting evidence that His passion is for 
our benefit, and that our dear Lord and merciful 
Redeemer has suffered for us and paid our debts. 

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However, since we shall have occasion to speak 
further of this when we come to Christ's crucifixion 
between the murderers, we shall now proceed to . 
the second point. 

St. Paul, 1 Tim. 6., admonishes Timothy thus: 
"I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quick- 
eneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who 
before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, 
that thou keep this commandment/' that is, doc- 
trine, "without spot, unrebukable, until the appear- 
ing of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Because this passage mentions so directly the 
confession which our dear Lord Jesus made before 
Pilate, and Paul makes use of it for earnestly ad- 
monishing Timothy, we have reason to meditate 
upon this confession and to inquire what it is and 
what is its purpose. Now, the Gospels tell us 
plainly what it was that Christ confessed. When 
the Jews had accused Him of having said that He 
was a king, and Pilate had taken Him to task on 
this account, He did not deny, but confessed openly 
before Pilate : "My kingdom is not of this world," 
i. e., my kingdom is no corporeal, earthly kingdom. 
Then Pilate asked again, "Art Thou a king then ? 
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To 
this end was I born, and for this cause came I into 
the world, that I should bear witness unto the 
truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my 
voice." I>o you ask: But of what use was this 
confession to Paul in admonishing Timothy to keep 
the commandment, i. e. doctrine, pure and not to 
adulterate it? Truly, of much use! Everything, 
if we desire to be true ministers and Christians, 
depends upon our believing what Christ confessed, 

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viz. : that He is a king ; but that His kingdom is 
not of this world ; that His only work in this world 
is to bear witness unto the truth. And it follows 
that His . earthly subjects must be like Him, the 
King. He is indeed called a king ; but when He is 
compared with Herod, Pilate and other temporal 
kings and rulers, he seems a poor, wretched man. 
Berod . was a great, shining lord, who courted 
sensual delight, realized his heart's desires, and was 
looked upon by all the world as glorious. 80 the 
world regarded Pilate too and others. But poor, 
innocent Christ bears no comparison with such as 
they ; yea, men mock and scorn Him as they please; 
they nail Him to the cross and murder Him. 
Therefore He said : "My kingdom is not of this 

Why, then, is He called a king? Because He is 
a king, — a king "just, and having salvation," as 
Zechariah says, chapter 9. Therefore, whosoever 
lives in His kingdom must not expect Him to give 
money or possessions, to satisfy the body's wants, 
or to do the other things which earthly kings are 
wont to do. No, this King forgives sins ; He be- 
stows righteousness; He delivers from everlasting 
death ; He bestows the Holy Spirit and eternal life. 
These are His gifts to all who hear His voice. This 
kingdom He has established on earth, but only in 
the Word and in faith. 

We have, therefore, an eternal King omnipotent, 
Christ Jesus, God's own Soix, who rescues us from 
Satan's power, from sin, from never-ending death. 
Our King does not deliver from bodily death; for 
earth is the place for suffering and dying, and He 

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Himself had to suffer here and die. Those who 
recognize this character of the King and His king- 
dom bear the cross with resignation. For then 
they know that our Lord Jesus, the everlasting 
King, also had to bear the cross, and thus, remem- 
bering that the servant cannot fare better than his 
master, are made willing and ready to suffer. And, 
besides, they take comfort in the knowledge that, 
although they must suffer here, there in eternity 
joy and glory shall be theirs. It is this that makes 
Christians bold, even in the midst of temptation 
aud death; while they who do not know these 
things cannot do otherwise in days of adversity 
than mourn, lament, murmur, show impatience, 
and, nn the end, even-despair. For the latter think 
that if God wished them well, He would not permit 
so much misery to come upon them, or else would 
soon help and rescue them. Such thoughts unmis- 
takably prove that Christ is held to be a king of 
this world. Temporal kings must, according to 
the duties of their office, protect the bodies, lives 
and possessions of their subjects and defend them 
against danger. But Christ, the King of glory, 
permits body and property, life and all to be in 

Do thou learn and firmly believe that these things 
are so for the reason, simply, that His ''Kingdom is 
not of this world." Thy Christian faith is not to 
be used by thee on earth as the means for obtaining 
all things in abundance, or for supplying all thy 
desires. For behold thy King ! How does it fare 
with Him, the Lord Jesus ? With what does He 
make a display ? Did He live a life of ease ? Do 
men regard Him as glorious? We see nothing 

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there except the suffering, mocked, reviled and 
ignominiously slaughtered One. 

True, He does sway a scepter, but only over a 
very small number, even the testimony of truth, 
that is, the holy Gospel. .By means of this, as said 
already, He sends the Holy Spirit into the souls of 
men, forgives their sins, and gives them the hope 
of everlasting life. But all these things take place 
only in faith and in the Word ; we cannot see 
them ; we cannot touch them; they are realized not 
by reason, but by hope. However, when earth's 
kingdom ends and we dwell no longer here, then 
shall His kingdom and His glory be revealed to us, 
yea, we shall live with Him and with Him rule all 
things in heaven and on earth. 

It was in this way that the Lord was recognized 
on the cross by one of the malefactors, saying, 
"Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy 
kingdom." He saw Christ suspended on the tree 
in the same misery, in which he found himself. 
The malefactor on the left was offended at Christ's 
helplessness and helped the Jews to rail on Him : 
Ah ! a very fine king, indeed ! He concluded that 
since the dear Lord was so wretched and poor on 
earth, it would, of course, be useless to expect help 
from Him. But he on the right knew Him well ; 
he knew Him not as a worldly, but as a spiritual 
and an eternal King. For this reason he prays 
that He would remember him in His kingdom when 
His body should be lifeless there upon the cross. 
In this way must we also believe in Him, and then 
shall we find immutable comfort in Christ Jesus. 

Now, all Christians need that consolation which 
always, in all kinds of distress and disappointment. 

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comes to them when they hold to Christ's confession 
before Pilate. It makes them say to themselves: 
Why shouldest thou weep? Why complain of this 
or that misfortune ? Think what kind of a King 
thou hast; what says He before Pilate? "My 
kingdom is not of this world." Wouldst thou have 
thy kingdom here? No, no ; for here it would not 
last ; this is altogether the land of suffering ! But 
in the world to come glory and a joyful lite shall 
surely be found. If they could be found here, they 
would afford only a short and transient joy, for in 
this world there is nothing firm nor eternal. Bat 
Jesus Christ, my King, is a King in the other 
world, that is, an everlasting King ; postpone thy 
glorying and thy pleasures;, therefore, till thou goest 
thither, and be content with the treatment thou 
receivest here* Thy King has not given thee orders 
to remain here ; He will have nothing to do with 
the world outside of the testimony of truth. — All 
Christians, I say, need this consolation, but espe- 
cially they who hold the ministerial office and ply 
the Word. 

For this reason St. Paul urges Timothy with 
these words, referring to Christ's confession before 
Pilate, to hold fast to the pure doctrine and not to 
let it be falsified. The world and the devil cannot 
bear the Word, and oppose it with all manner of 
confusion. Every pastor should and must, there- 
fore, cling to the testimony mentioned, and recog- 
nize Christ as that King, in whom he finds comfort, 
and whom he hopes to enjoy, — but not on earth. 
He says, "But now is my kingdom not from hence." 
And again, "I am a king .... for this cause came 
I into the world, that I should bear witness unto 

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the truth." Whosoever, therefore, desires to have 
this King Jesus, let him lay hold on the truth, 
which is His Word, and know that he shall not on 
account of His kingdom have greater abundance on 
earth ; yea, let him know that he shall have to bear 
many a misfortune on account of the Word, even 
as did Christ, the King, Himself. But when life 
on earth is over, then shall come the full enjoyment 
of the Lord Jesus' kingdom. 

The Pope and. bishops never knew this consola- 
tion. They do not recognize as king one who does 
no more than bear witness tmto the truth, and cry 
with Pilate: "What is truth?" Had we nothing 
else we would, no doubt, have to go a begging. 
Therefore will we have another king, — one who 
can give us plenty of money, possessions, honor, 
power and everything; as for this King and His 
truth, they may in the meanwhile fare as they can. 
But St. Paul cautions against such folly. And 
every pious pastor should earnestly heed this ad- 
monition, and depend upon it that we shall not be 
glorified on earth, and that all our glory here shall 
be to bear witness unto the truth. Earth's reward 
for this service shall be. in our case what it was in 
the Lord Jesus' case, the gallows and the execu- 
tioner. Learn to suffer and to hear such things, 
and let it be your faith and hope, that, although 
you must suffer here, still this suffering shall, in 
the other world, be rewarded and made good by 
the Lord Jesus, the eternal King ! But this must 
suffice for a brief consideration of the testimony 
before Pilate. 

We must now examine the third point also. It 
is this : Pilate and the Jews greatly undervalue the 

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blood of our dear Lord Jesus, which, finally, falls 
on them as a crushing and eternal burden. 

Matthew mentions in particular that Pilate 
washed his hands before the multitude, and said: 
"I am innocent of the blood of this just person." 
He thought he had done his whole duty in making 
several attempts to liberate Christ, and that he 
could not help it that the Jews resisted him in his 
efforts. Still he delivered the Lord to be crucified. 
Just as though his saying "I am innocent" would 
make him innocent! Had he desired a warning, 
his wife might have told him how innocent he 
would be ; for she, as related above in the text, had 
spent a whole night suffering many things in a 
dream, from which she could judge the severity of 
the judgment which Pilate would bring upon him- 
self and all belonging to him by consenting to the 
death of "that just man." But so it always is with 
the blood of the Lord Jesus and with that of His 
Christians. Herod the elder slew all Bethlehem's 
innocent infants. His son slew the holy John the 
Baptist. Both dared to think themselves benefited 
by their murder. Neither did Pilate here regard it 
as much out of the way that he sentenced Christ to 
die. He thought that his opinion would also be 
God's opinion, and that God would, therefore, hold 
him innocent. But without doubt God's wrath did 
not tarry loug till it utterly destroyed the house, 
the tribe, the name of Pilate, and then thrust his 
body and soul into hell and into the eternal fire. 
There he discovered how innocent he was of this 

But the Jews went about this murder with still 
greater recklessness. When Pilate said, "See ye to 

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it," they shamelessly burst out with the cry, "His 
blood be on us, and on our children," that is, in 
case He should be wronged, we are willing that we 
and our children shall suffer for it. It was easily 
said, and seemed to have been spoken with im- 
punity. But before forty years had passed they 
saw their imprecation about to be answered. And 
then this "blood" began to flow down upon them 
in such streams that Jerusalem and the whole 
Jewish kingdom soon were desolate, the people 
lamentably slain, and all things overthrown. But 
even this sufficed not ; from that time till this, and 
it is now nearly fifteen hundred years, they have 
wandered about in misery, nowhere finding a con- 
tinuing city. 

This temporal punishment, so that they have no 
cities nor government of their own, is truly severe, 
but it shall come to an end. But this is truly terri- 
ble that their hearts are so horribly imbittered 
against Christ, the Son of God. Instead of seeking 
and expecting forgiveness of sin and eternal life 
and salvation, as they should, of Christ, their King 
and. God, they abuse and revile Him, thus taking 
delight in falsehood and error, and diligently seek 
means of darkening the Scriptures before their own 
eyes and preventing their understanding it. There- 
fore, when they fancy that they are calling upon 
and serving God, they really serve the very devil. 
Neither does God hear them. And since they 
desire no freedom from sin through the Son of 
God, there can be nothing surer to them than that 
they must die in their sins and be forever ruined. 
In the 8. chapter of John, Christ tells them this 

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very thing : "If ye believe not that I am He, ye 
shall die in your sins." 

They did. not, at that time, perceive this calamity, 
and even thought that the sooner Christ could be 
slain the better it would be for them. Without 
any further thought, therefore, they said : If He is 
wronged, may we and our children be punished! 
But even as the thirty pieces of silver afforded 
Judas a joy of only short duration, so also a change 
soon came upon the Jews. From day ta day failure 
advanced upon all their affairs, until, in the end, 
they went to utter ruin. This is, therefore, a fit 
subject for the serious meditation especially of great 
kings and princes ; these should remember what an 
easy, trifling thing it seemed for Pilate and the 
Jews to shed innocent blood, and how this finally 
forced them into the abyss of hell. 

When our bishops and their idol, the Pope, have 
succeeded in seizing a pious, faithful minister and 
pastor, they hurry him off to the stake or to the 
gallows, and dream they have done well; they do 
this, therefore, like Pilate and the Jews, with wan- 
tonness. But their success is not made certain yet; 
alas, such an end as theirs shall be! For it is 
impossible that God should look long upon such 
deeds in silence; innocent blood cries so mightily 
into His ears that He must rise and inflict punish- 

Pilate was thrust so low that now, no doubt, not 
a single person of his name or tribe remains. The 
Jews to this day are laboring under the blood of 
Jesus Christ, and it will finally press them down to 
hell. The great and powerful emperors and the 

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mighty princes in the Romish and all other king- 
doms, aud every one else that has ever persecuted 
Christians,— they all have been lamentably over- 
thrown and slain. 

And surety the same fate awaits the enemies of 
Christ of our day, who act as tyrants and persecute 
and murder Christians for the Gospel's sake. Let 
no one fear that puuishment shall fail to come! 
They who meddle with the innocent blood of Chris- 
tians, though they may be as mighty as the Emperor 
Augustus, must still go down, together with all 
their descendants* They may, indeed, be thinking 
bow that we are heretics and that they do right by 
staying us. So thought Pilate, and especially the 
Jews, but it availed them nothing. Let every one, 
therefore, take good care of himself and let alone 
the blood of Christians ! At first it seems a little 
sin, — a trifle merely; but in the end, everything 
that is stained with Christians' blood shall be utterly 
destroyed, as all history testifies. 

May Almighty God resist all tyrants, mercifully 
grant peace unto His Church, graciously keep us by 
His Word and save us forever. Amen. 

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Christ Led away to be Crucified. — Simon Bears 

the Cross after Him.-*-The Women who Follow 

Bewail and Lament Him. 

Luke 23, 26-31. And as they led Him away, they laid hold upon 
one Simon, a Gyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they 
laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed 
Him a great company of people, and of women, which also be. ailed 
and lamented Him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of 
Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your 
children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall 
say, B essed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the 
paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the 
mountains, Fall on us ; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do 
these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ? 

pinion's bearing the cross and the women's 
weeping occurred while Christ was being led 
from Pilate to the place of execution. Matthew, 
Mark and Luke alike make mention of Simon, a 
Cyrenian, to show, no doubt, that what is said of 
him was no accident, as it might seem, but so or- 
dained by God for a special purpose, viz. : that at 
the very time when Christ should be led away to 
suffer, all Christians might have an example set, 
from which to learn how they should fare on earth, 
— that they must bear the cross after the Lord 
Jesus, like Simon here. This good and pious man, 
not knowing in what the Jews at Jerusalem were 
engaged, went into the city according to his need 
and opportunity, to attend to his business. And 
now, as the Lord and the two murderers were led 
toward him, and the Lord, on account of weakness, 

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could carry no further the cross which had been 
placed on Him, and which, since a strong, full- 
grown man was to be nailed to it, must have been 
pretty heavy, the soldiers ran up to good, pious 
Simon and compelled him to take up the cross or 
tree, to which Christ was to be nailed, and to bear 
it after the Lord. 

This looks as if it had happened incidentally. 
But it is, as already said, a picture of all Christians, 
which God wished to show to His Church just 
when His dear Son, Jesus Christ, was Himself 
suffering, so as to check that common offence which 
is so apt to lead us all astray. For as soon as God 
comes to us with the cross, attacking our body or 
property, giving us ill-bred children or sending 
some other misfortune or calamity, our courage 
fails us. We then conclude that God does not wish 
us well, and that if Be loved us He would deal 
more gently with us. We take the fact that He 
permits us to be troubled, afflicted and tormented 
as an indication that He is angry with us and 
refuses to be gracious. 

Now, the picture in our text is to operate against 
offences of this kind. In the first place, we see the 
Son of God bearing His cross Himself and finding 
it so heavy that it nearly throws Him down and 
that He can scarcely walk. Mark this well ! For 
if such things happen to the green and fruitful tree, 
about which we shall soon be told, it is easy to infer 
that better things shall not and can not happen the 
dry and unfruitful tree. In the second place, we 
see pious Simon doing the work that others should 
have done; had he not come near where Christ 
was compelled to carry His cross, he would never 

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have needed to bear a cross. But here he suffers 
for the Lord Jesus ; because Christ carries the cross, 
he also must suffer and help to carry it. Remember, 
it shall never be different with Christians here; 
they must all submit with Simon and bear the cross 
after Christ. 

Although God may bear with the wicked for a 
while and permit them to receive everything that 
their hearts wish and covet, still their punishment 
shall not be delayed always. They too must suffer 
here on earth, receiving now here a kick then there 
a thrust, and never afterward enjoying uninterrupted 
success, as the 32. Psalm tells us: "Many sorrows 
shall be to the wicked ; but he that trusteth in the 
Lord, mercy shall compass him about," and as is 
glaringly shown by examples. 

Severe and violent were the sufferings of ungodly 
Pharaoh and his Egyptians. And how much mis- 
fortune, oppression and grief did not the Jews have 
to bear in the desert and afterward in the land of 
Canaan, until, finally, the Assyrian wasted the tea 
tribes, and, some time after, even Judah's tribe was 
Aung into the whirlpool of woee and the entire land 
conquered by the Babylonians! But it is not 
necessary to cite many instances. Each one need 
merely think of what he himself has seen and ex- 
perienced in his own case and in that of others. It 
is, therefore, impossible that punishment, distress, 
wretchedness and tribulation should finally foil to 
follow where God is not feared and where His Word 
and will are resisted. 

But from the case of Simon here we must learn 
to make a difference between the holy cross and 
the well-deserved punishment and misery of the 

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wickfed. No wonder if the knave fares badly ; for 
he rushes to his doom with open eyes. If the thiet 
would stop his stealing he would, no doubt, remain 
secure against the gallows and the hangman. As 
for men and women, if they would refrain from 
debauchery, they might enjoy wealth, honor and 
health. But since they do not desist, but continue 
in sin, God punishes them with poverty, disgrace, 
disease, or other misfortunes. These wicked ones 
wish nothing else and nothing better ; foi; by their 
sin and impenitent lives they themselves furnish 
the cause for their misery and distress ; they urge 
God, who would delight* in being merciful and in 
giving them all good things, yea, they compel Him 
to make His anger burn at once, to heap destruction 
on them and to stem the tide of sin. Peter there- 
fore says, 1 Pet. 4, 15 : "But let none of you suffer 
as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or 
as a busybody in other men's matters." fle thus 
makes this distinction, that not all suffering is to 
be called a "cross;" for that which the wicked 
suffer is not their cross, but their punishment and 
merited reward ; while that which Christians suffer, 
like Simon here, is called and is in reality a Across," 
because it is not merited, but the fault of others. 
If Simon had not just happened to meet the Lord 
Jesus, he would have been let alone ; but he has to 
suffer for it that he <*ame where Christ was being 
led to the crucifixion. 

In this way all Christians should suffer and bear 
the cross; even as Peter says: Not "suffer as a 
murderer, or as a thief, . . . yet ... as a Christian," 
that is, for the sake of the Lord Jesus and His 

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Word and confession. All Christians acknowledge 
themselves to be poor sinners, and know that 
through sin they have deserved all the calamities 
God sends upon them on earth, and many more. 
They are, indeed, the only ones who acknowledge 
their short-comings, weakness and transgressions ; 
for sin's peculiar punishment is eternal death, and 
not this or that particular temporal misfortune. 
Nevertheless, their suffering is not the punishment 
for sin, tut the real and holy "cross." His being a 
sinner and his stumbling and falling occasionally, 
is not the reason why the Christian is hated by the 
evil adversary and the world. No, both the devil 
and the world could well tolerate that, and would 
be satisfied with the Christian as far as that is con- 
cerned. But the Christian holds to the Word and 
has faith ; he put his hope in Christ, the Son of 
God, and is comforted in His death and resurrec- 
tion ; he fears God and tries to live according to 
His will; he labors hard, by means of his confession, 
to persuade others to believe and to come to the 
knowledge of Christ. This it is that neither the 
devil nor his tender bride, the world, can endure ; 
this it is that makes Satan rage so terribly against 
all Christians; this it is that makes him always 
pursue them, afflicting their bodies with disease 
and sometimes their property with loss by storms, 
or hail, or fire, as it was the case with Job. (Job 1.) 
And sometimes he troubles them with great secret 
torments of conscience, such as melancholy, sadness, 
fear, trembling, doubts, dread of death, and like 
fiery darts of the devil, about which the Psalms 
lament so much. Of this kind was the temptation 
of Paul which he mentions 2 Cor. 12 : "There was 

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given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of 
Satan to buffet me," Ac. And what the world does 
in this direction is easily seen, especially in times 
like the present, when poor Christians receive such 
wretched and horrible treatment. 

This is bearing the Lord Jesus' cross as Simon 
did. Simon was certainly also a poor sinner, but 
what is that to these soldiers ? It is not for this 
that they make him suffer, but they make him 
suffer because Christ, who cannot get along with 
His cross, is present and needs some one to help 
Him bear the cross. 

Therefore, although thou art a poor sinner, and 
confessest how thou hast in various ways sinned 
against God; still, because thou believest in Christ, 
thy sins are not the chief cause of all thy crosses 
and afflictions, and thy sins are not that for which 
the devil and the world punish thee. Nay, it 
would be their joy and rejoicing if thou wouldst be 
altogether on their side, and not on that of God 
and His Word. It is chiefly on account of the 
Lord Jesus, His Word and thy faith that thou must 

This, that Simon bears the Lord Jesus' cross, is 
the first thing to be learned here. It is profitable 
especially for consolation, giving us certainty that 
we shall realize our hope of help and salvation, and 
provoking us to prayer. For he who, when he lies 
under the cross and in misery, thinks only of his 
being a sinner and deserving such punishment, is, 
by such thoughts, made too cold and too lazy to 
pray. For it is the nature of sin always to terrify 


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the heart, to make it fearful and timid, and to 
deprive it of the consolation and the hope that God 
will bestow aught that is good. But if we consider 
the real, chief reason why the devil and the world 
are such bitter enemies of ours and heap all manner 
of mischief on us, we shall have to confess that it is 
not on account of our sins that they are so furious. 
They would like ? and this is their constant aim, to 
plunge us into all sin and shame, to succeed in 
which would be their pleasure and satisfaction. 
They are opposed to us, they seek where they can 
to do us harm and hate us, especially because we 
heed the Word of God, confess the Lord Jesus, 
place our confidence in the goodness and grace of 
God and desire to live according to His will, in His 
fear and love, and in faith and obedience. This is 
the fountain and foundation of their hatred and 
envy. Mark well, thou must therefore not deny 
that thou art a poor sinner, and that thou hast by 
thy sins deserved every calamity. For God punishes 
also His own for their sins, as Peter says, "Judg- 
ment must begin at the house of God." But Satan 
and the world, so say to thyself, are not angry with 
me on this account; they would be satisfied with 
me if I, like a hog in the mire, remained impenitent 
in my sins. But why, then, do they hate me? 
Simply because I believe and confess that the Man 
who here bears the cross is my God and Saviour. 

Now, if this is true, what shall we do next? 
Shall we despair ? No, as you prize your soul, no ! 
Firm hope must be ours. And though we are 
miserable sinners, it is still most sure that the Lord 
Jesus will not let us perish as long as we suffer for 

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His sake. He can help us mercifully, and He will 
do so. And as we sufter and die with Him, so 
shall we also be exalted with Him into glory and 
live with Him forever. But let us boldly open our 
mouth and cry, saying: O Lord, we are, indeed, 
poor sinners, and by our disobedience have deserved 
infinitely severer chastisement than we are now 
bearing ; but look, O Lord, at the wicked enemy's 
intentions. The enemy hates Thee and Thy name, 
and hates us too because we hold fast to Thee and 
Thy name, find comfort in Thy Word, and hope 
for mercy through Thy death and merits. There- 
fore, dear Lord Jesus Christ, be Thou avenged on 
them, and help us for Thy name's sake. — Such 
thoughts make the heart cheerful and give it confi- 
dence and boldness to pour itself out in prayer. 
For this reason the holy Prophets also prayed in 
this way, constantly pleading the name of God, as 
David does in the 44. Psalm : "Yea, for Thy sake 
are we killed all the day long ; we are counted as 
sheep for the slaughter." Let the preceding, about 
Simon's being compelled by the soldiers to suffer 
for the sake of the Lord Jesus by beariug His cross, 
be said, then, for the special purpose of teaching 
the distinction between the Christian's cross and 
the wicked man's punishment for sin. 

The second thing to be learned here is that Simon 
not only bears the cross, but also bears it because 
he is compelled to do so. For if he would have 
had his own will in the matter, he would have gone 
his way and cared very little what was becoming of 
Christ and His cross. But the soldiers seize him 
against his will, and compel him to carry the cross. 

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This subject teaches us also very nicely what 
really is and what is not a cross. Monks and nuns 
who are in earnest, lead an austere life and oppress 
themselves with the most difficult labor. But this 
is not the cross of Christ which Simon bears. 
Why ? Because they have placed it on themselves 
from their own free choice and without the com- 
mand of God. And just so the Anabaptists do. 
But the proverb, "what is done from choice is done 
with ease," might be applied to such suffering; 
since it is self-imposed, and might be avoided, it 
cannot hurt very badly. But when one is compelled 
to bear the cross and does it reluctantly, then it 
becomes heavy and oppressive. It is this idea that 
Christ expresses when He says, John 21, to Peter: 
"When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and 
walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou 
shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and 
another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither 
thou wouldest not." Let Christians be ever so 
perfect, flesh and blood cannot help but shudder at, 
fear and shun the cross. 

For this reason this man is called Simon or 
Simeon, which, in his language, means one who 
takes advice aud obeys. For that is true obedience 
which, though it prefers to be exempt from this or 
that suffering, still yields to it willingly, following 
and letting itself be led, simply because it sees that 
God desires it so. All true Christians can be called 
by this name Simon. For although their flesh and 
blood would like to rest and be excused from pain, 
they still obey, heed the Word, are submissive to 
to the will of God, and help the Lord Jesus bear 
His cross. 

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The third thing to be learned here is to distin- 
guish between Simon and the Lord Jesus. Simon 
bears the cross after the Lord Jesus as far as the 
place of execution and then goes away; while 
Christ allows Himself to be nailed to the cross and 
dies on it. This is the true difference between the 
suffering of Christ and our suffering. Our suffering 
does not earn the forgiveness of sins. This is accom- 
plished alone by the sufferings of our Lord. Jesus. 
He alone is the true Sacrifice and Lamb of God 
which pays and atones for the sins of all the world 
and, for this reason, hangs upon the cross. But 
Simon merely carries the cross ; that is, our bearing 
the cross does nothing more with the old Adam 
than molest him, and nothing more with sin than 
oppose it. But it is the work and merit of our 
Lord Jesus alone that forgives our sins. 

Thus, beloved, you perceive that this Simon is a 
pattern for all Christians, for they must bear the 
crofes of the Lord Jesus ; and that it is not, however, 
on account of this bearing that their sins are for- 
given. The bearing of the cross serves to restrain 
the old Adam, lest he become too wild. But when 
the cross is to be the means of the forgiveness of 
sins, it will not do for Simon to bear it, but then 
Christ must hang and die on it. This is the reason 
w r hy Simon is set free. By Christ's death we are 
set free from death and receive eternal life, as this 
is clearly pointed out in that part of our text which 
we are about to treat. 

St. Luke tells us that as the Lord was led out of 
Jerusalem, some women followed, bewailing and 
lamenting Him. The Lord turned to them and 

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told them not to weep for Him, but for themselves 
and for their children, because the time was coming 
when the woman without child would be called 
blessed, and when, as Hosea says, men would desire 
the mountains to fall upon and cover them. But 
the reason of such calamity and woe was, that since 
Christ, the green tree, was so badly treated, they, 
the dry and barren tree, WQuld be treated still 

Although these things referred especially to the 
Jews of that day, they still show us how to make 
proper use of our Lord Jesus' sufferings ; first, by 
revealing sin as a terrible burden, — the Son of God 
Himself being compelled to die on account of our 
sin; and then, by consoling us against sin by 
means of Christ's sufferings, — the Son of God hav- 
ing rendered satisfaction and atoned for sin upon 
the cross. 

Notice, first, the difference which the Lord makes 
between Himself and the Jews, for on this difference 
a great deal depends. Himself He compares to a 
young tree, so beautiful and fruitful that it should 
be bought for a garden, and by no means cut down 
and cast into the fire. Nevertheless, the latter is 
done. God lets Him be cut down, that is, He lets 
Him now be led out to the cross, where He is to be 
slain as the greatest malefactor, notwithstanding 
that He is such a fine, sappy, beautiful and fruitful 
tree. He is without all sin and walks before God 
in perfect obedience, and all things He says and 
does are purely noble and precious fruits, every one 
of which is a joy to God and a blessing to us. In 
short, we find nothing about the Lord Jesus that is 
not grace, life and salvation. The Jews on the 

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other hand, He compares to an old, barren, dry and 
rotten tree, which is altogether out of place in the 
garden, and only fit to be felled and burned. For 
they did not heed God's Word. Johu's preaching 
brought no fruit; they said John had a devil. 
Christ, the Son of God, Himself and His Apostles 
preached. Neither did they pay any attention to 
Him, but called Him a wine-bibber, said He had a 
devil, and hated and envied Him so bitterly that 
they had no peace until they had brought Him 
from life to death. Nevertheless, since they had 
Moses, the law, and the external worship of God in 
the temple at Jerusalem, they dared to think that 
they were God's people, that they were living 
saints, indeed, and that they rested in God's bosom. 
Now, it is easy to imagine, if the Son of God, who 
is a fine, fruitful tree, is visited by so severe a judg- 
ment of God, how infinitely severe shall be the fate 
of the terribly great sinners, the dry trees. It was 
the Lord's desire that the Jews should understand 
this now and not continue in their sin ; that, by 
seeing Him, who, though innocent, was crucified 
and killed, they might learn to fear the wrath of 
God and to flee from it by true repentance. Little, 
however, did this wanting avail. The dry tree 
could yield no fruit, aud so was cast into the fire. 
History shows this, where it tells us that about 
forty years after Christ's death a most terrible 
judgment came upon the Jews for their sin, the 
Romans desolating their whole land. For them- 
selves, therefore, even as the Lord here counsels 
and exhorts them to do, and not for Christ, should 
they have wept, acknowledging their sins and 

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We too, however, should take this advice to 
heart For we all must confess that we have many 
and great sins and, therefore, are dry and unfruitful 
trees,— trees which do not and can not yield any- 
thing good. What, then, shall we do ? Nothing 
except weep and cry to God for pardon, and earn- 
estly resist and curb our evil, sinful nature and 
inordinate desires. For we are admonished here, 
that since the fruitful tree receives such shameful 
treatment, God permitting His dear Son to suffer 
so severely, we should not feel secure, nor laugh, 
nor skip carelessly along, like the world, which 
neither hears nor knows this warning of the Lord. 
But we should weep, we should discern our sins* 
we should heartily lament that we have been so 
corrupted by sin and that we have become unfruitful 
trees; we should fear the wrath of God on this 
account and pray for mercy and forgiveness. 

The first thing for us specially to learn from the 
sufferings of Christ is to fear God and His anger on 
account of our sins, and not to give the reins to 
sin. This we must do for ourselves, for we are a 
dry, unfruitful tree, which is fit only for the fire. 

But the Lord teaches us still another thing here. 
We should weep for ourselves and for our children ; 
but for Him we should not weep, but laugh, rejoice 
and be of good cheer. For why does He suffer? 
He is a genuine, good and fruitful tree, and has not 
deserved such a cruel fate,^but bears it for our sin's 
sake. And as He now proceeds to the cross it is 
His only aim to perform the work of His priestly 
office, and not only to pray for sinners, but also to 
sacrifice His body and His life upon the altar of the 

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cross for them, so that this offering may reconcile 
God, liberate poor sinners from His wrath, and 
make them heirs of everlasting life. The L6rd, 
therefore, does not want us to think of His suffer- 
ings as of something for which we should weep. 
He wants us to rejoice, to glorify God, to thank 
Him for His mercy, to praise, to extol and to con- 
fess Him, because His going to the cross has brought 
to us the grace of God, freed us from sin and death, 
and made us God's dear children. 

But the first of these lessons goes down as hard 
with us as the second, and the second as hard as 
the first. We prefer the ways of the world to the 
warning and advice of the Lord Jesus. We should 
weep for ourselves, because sin has polluted us so, 
and because so terrible a judgment awaits us. Bat 
where is the man to be found who weeps ? The 
deeper men sink into the slime of sin, the more 
secure and joyful they grow. Man deems his joy, 
glory and life perfect, as we have said several times 
before, when he has numerous occasions for sinning. 
No sum of money can satiate the miser's maw. 
The more advantage the greedy man can take and 
the freer access to gain he has, the happier he 
becomes, and he verily imagines that he has done 
his work well. Just so it is with other sins, such 
as. anger, lewdness, envy, pride. Who cares for 
them? Who weeps for them? They are loved by 
every one and every one yields to them. 

How the Jews succeeded with such work we 

clearly see. It behooves us, therefore, to repent 

and, as the Lord now so faithfully exhorts when He 

k about to die, to be concerned and grieved for 


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ourselves. And it is certain, once for all, that our 
sins shall be punished with eternal death unless we 
are freed from them. 

Even as we are disobedient with reference to the 
first lesson, for no one weeps and none lament their 
sins ; so do we disobey in regard to the second, for 
no one wishes heartily to rejoice over the dear 
Lord Jesus. Money, possessions, honor and the 
like, mean and little though they be, rejoice the 
heart ; while that which is exclusively grace and 
life and salvation finds the heart almost chilled and 
dead, and void of all longing and desire and heart- 
felt eagerness to possess this treasure. 

These lessons, when attention is paid merely to 
their words, are, indeed, easily and quickly learned ; 
but when, on the other hand, they are to be mas- 
tered in their relation to our heart and Binful 
nature, the task is most difficult and even impossible. 
Our determination to invert these lessons is heredi- 
tary. Instead of weeping for our sins, we laugh 
about them. Instead of laughing and exulting 
with all our heart that Christ has died for us, we 
weep. Now, we either regard this rejoicing on 
account of Jesus as not superior to the more popular 
joys of the world ; or else sin and the wrath of God 
have seized our souls and banished from them the 
desire aud the ability to be comforted. Christ's. 
"Weep not for me" hardly penetrates the heart. 
We weep and lament and despair as though Christ 
had not died, not paid for our sins, not averted 
God's anger, and not delivered us from death. 

Before either lesson can be learned, therefor^ 
prayer is necessary. We must pray, first, thfit God, 

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by His Holy Spirit, would move our hearts, disgust 
us with and dissuade us from sin, and shield us 
from false security. We must pray, again, that He 
would kindle in our souls the flame of consolation 
against sin, and seal there the confidence in the 
sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ Jesus; so that 
we may truly worship God, like poor sinners fear 
Him, abide in repentance and trust in His goodness 
with all our heart; for He does not wish us harm, 
peeing that for the forgiveness of our sins He deliv- 
ered His Only Begotten into death, even the death 
of the cross. May our dear Lord Jesus grant us 
this. Amen. 

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Christ Nailed to the Cross. — His Deeds, 
Sufferings and Words on the Cross. 

Matt 27, 33-56. And when they were come unto a place called 
Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave Him vinegar to 
drink mingled with gall : and when He had tasted thereof, He would 
not drink. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, cast- 
ing lots : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, 
They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did 
they cast lots. And sitting down they watched Him there; and set 
up over His head His accusation written, This is Jesus the King of 
Hie Jews. Then were there two thieves crucified with Him ; one on 
the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by 
reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest 
the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be 
the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief 
priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved 
others ; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Ibrael, let Him 
now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted 
in God ; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him : for He said, 
I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with 
Him, cast the same in His teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was 
darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth 
hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? 
that is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me ? Some 
of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth 
for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and 
filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink. 
The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save Him. 
Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the 
ghost. And, behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain from 
the top to the bottom ; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent ; 
and the graves were opened ; and many bodies of the saints which 
slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and 
went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the 
centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, -saw the 
earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, 
saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were 
there beholding a'ar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, minister- 
ing unto Him : among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the 
mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children. 

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!!ach of the four Evangelists makes a record of 
the things that occurred on the cross. Still, 
sometimes one of them mentions a thing that the 
rest of them omit. Before treating, therefore, on 
the true doctrine taught in our text, we propose to 
recite the history of the cross in its details as 
furnished by all four Evangelists. 

When the soldiers had brought the Lord Jesus 
to Golgotha, the place for executing public male- 
factors, "they gave Him," as Matthew relates, 
"vinegar to drink mingled with gall." This gall 
was not the gall of a live beast, but a compound of 
all sorts of bitter herbs. This drink, as some sup- 
pose, was given to dying criminals, to hasten their 
departure. But the Lord would not drink of it, 
for He had willingly yielded to this death. The 
word gall is used in this sense in Deut. 29, Ps. 69, 
Jer. 8, and in other places. Immediately after this, 
the soldiers nailed Him to the cross and two male- 
factors with Him, one on His right and one on His 
left. The Lord Jesus, however, as the true priest 
who must now attend to His priestly office, prayed 
for those who crucified Him and for all poor sinners, 
saying: "Father, forgive them; for they know not 
what they do." We shall have occasion to see the 
fruit of this prayer when we come to speak of the 
malefactor on the right ofOhrist ; for to him it was 
that Gospel and sermon, from which he learned to 
know Christ as the Son of God, that He hanged 
upon the cross as the atonement for the sins of the 
whole world, and that after His bodily death He 
would live and reign with God, His Father, in 

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The Evangelists announce that Pilate placed the 
superscription, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the 
Jews," written in three languages, over the head of 
the Lord Jesus. It was customary to do this, so 
that every one might know why people wera 
executed, and take warning. The superscription 
over the head of the Lord Jesus was to serve the 
special purpose of admonishing the Jews, eveii 
while He was kangiug miserably on the cross, not 
to be offended in Him, but to take Him for theif 
King. But it was in vain ! The title made them 
so indignant that they accosted Pilate thus : "Write 
not, The King of the Jews ; but that He said, I am 
the King of the Jews." But Pilate was much dis* 
pleased with them and would not alter the super- 
scription, which remains an eternal testimony 
against the Jews, that they could not rest until they 
had crucified their King. 

Hereiipon the soldiers, four in number, took the 
Lord Jesus' garments, separating them into four 
parts. His coat, however, which was without seam, 
being woven, they did not rend, but cast lots for it. 
And John says that this had been prophesied in the 
Scriptures. He would have us understand by this 
that the taking of the Lord's garments was no 
accident, but done by God's special counsel, that it 
might serve the Church as an emblem ; for it shows, 
first, that the world is not satisfied even when it 
has put Christians to death, but takes what little 
property Christians may have and plunders them. 
This we can see in our old histories, where Julian 
and other blood-hounds and tyrants drove poor 
Christians away from their possessions and took 
from them what they had. We see it not there 

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1im?8 PASStOK-SERMON. 199 

Only, but We have living instances of tyrants and 
bishops who are well enough pleased when their 
subjects, contrary to their command, eat meat, hear 
Lutheran (as they call them) sermons, receive both 
bread and wine in the Sacrament, and the like ; for 
then they have plausible reasons to oppress their 
subjects, to sell or trespass upon their property, or 
to tax them as they please. But we can also see 
how much richer such money makes them. Money 
thus unrighteously extorted devours all they have, 
so that afterward they are neither blest nor pros* 

The soldiers' casting lots upon the vesture of the 
Lord can, no doubt, be applied to sects and heretics. 
The Holy Scriptures is the coat which our Lord 
Jesus puts on, and in which He can be seen and 
found. This coat is woven throughout, and all its 
threads are so interlocked that it cannot be cut nor 
divided. But the soldiers who crucify Christ, that 
is, heretics and sects, interest themselves in this 
coat. Their chief fault is that they want the whole 
coat, that is, that they try to convince every one 
that all Scripture harmonizes with them and their 
opinions. She Sacramentarians of our day serve as 
an illustration. They regard the words, "This is 
my body," "This is my blood," as insignificant, 
saying that they are only a single passage, while 
the Bible, as they boast, is full of passages which 
prove Christ to be no longer on earth, but in heaven. 

The manner of all sects is to adopt a special 
opinion without consulting the Word; this opinion 
then hangs continually before their eyes, like blue 
glasses, and everything they see is blue, that is, 
according to their own opinion. But they are 

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knaves, as St. Paul calls them, Eph. 4, where he 
admonishes us to be no more "carried about with 
every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and 
cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to 
deceive." The Greek word here translated "sleight" 
is kybia, which means, in English, playing at dice, 
or trickery. Now, as the knave masters the die so 
that it must fall to suit him, so sects and fanatics 
master the Word. Every one wants the whole of 
it, and makes use of the die. But let us proceed 
with the history. 

As the Lord was hanging on the cross He saw 
His mother and His mother's sister and John with 
them, and "He saith unto His mother, Woman, 
behold thy Son! Then saith He to the disciple, 
Behold thy mother !" 

After this, men of every station began the most 
heartless scoffing. The chief priests, scribes and 
elders, as Matthew writes, said, "He saved others; 
let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen 
of God." With such pointed, poisonous words 
they wished uot only to insult the Lord, but also 
to alienate from Him the people, so that they would 
not respect Him, so that they would slight and 
despise all the miracles they had seen and all the 
sermons they had heard, and so that they would 
regard Him as a blasphemer. The soldiers, who as 
Gentiles cared not about God, mocked Him in a 
different way, giving Him vinegar to drink, "and 
saying, If Thou be the King of the Jews, save 

Finally, even one of the malefactors "railed on 
Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and 
us." But the other rebuked him for this, saying: 

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And dost even thou not fear God ? There thou 
hangest and in less than an hour or two all will be 
over with thee. Thou hast all thy life been a 
scoundrel, like myself, and hast well deserved this 
punishment. Is it not high time to think of thy 
salvation and to leave such foolish words unspoken? 
After giving this reproof he turned to the Lord 
and said, "Remember me when Thou comest into 
Thy kingdom." And Jesus answered, "Verily, I 
say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in 

In the mean time came deep darkness, most 
unnatural and terrible. The agony of death pressed 
from the Lord the cry: "My God, my God, why 
hast Thou forsaken me ?" The Jews well enough 
understood the meaning of this cry; still their 
bitterness and their fierceness urged them to pervert 
Christ's word and say : "This man calleth for Elias. 
.... Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to 
gave Him !" 

"Jesus knowing that all things were now accom- 
plished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, 
I thirst." Then the soldiers took a sponge filled 
"with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it 
to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received 
the vinegar, He said, It is finished." By these 
words He meant to say : The world and the devil 
have now done all that lies in their power, and 
therefore I have now done all that the redemption 
of mankind demands, and all that the Prophets 
have foretold in Holy "Writ; the work is done! 
Then He "cried with a loud voice, .... Father, 
into Thy hands I commend my spirit ; and having 
said thus, He gave up the ghost.' ' 

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Immediately after, "the rail of the* temple was 
rent in twain from the top to the bottom," as a 
testimony that the proper offering had been made 
to God at last, and that now the law and its sacri- 
fices, which were merely a type of the sacrifice just 
made, were forever abrogated. The temple was so 
constructed that the people stood to hear the Word 
of God and to sing and pray in the apartment 
nearest the entrance. This was separated from 
another apartment, which was similar to the chan- 
cels in some of our churches, into which were 
admitted only the priests, who there offered sacri- 
fices and did the other things belonging to the 
service of God, and which, because none except the 
holy priests dared enter there, was called the holy 
place. Beyond this was still another apartment, 
Galled the holy of holies* in which stood the mercy- 
seat. This was separated from the holy place by 
means of a vail, beyond which no one was allowed 
to go except the high priest, and he only once 
every year, wheu he offered for his sins and for the 
sins of all the people. It is this vail that the 
Evangelists tell us was rent. They mention this to 
testify to us that God's services, as they were con- 
ducted in the holy of holies, are ended and abolished, 
and this because the highest priest, God's Son, has 
offered now unto God, His Father, for the sins of 
the whole world, not the blood of goats and calves, 
but His own body and blood. 

This rending of the vail took place while the 
earth quaked so violently that the rocks rent and 
that the graves of numerous saints were opened. 
Out of these graves, after the resurrection of Christ, 
arose many bodies of the saints, who appeared unto 

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many in Jerusalem, who preached concerning the 
Lord Jesus and who testified that He was Christ, 
the true Messiah. These ascended to heaven with 
the Lord Jesus to live there forever, like Enoch 
and Elias, whom God took into heaven alive, th6 
former before the flood and the latter three thousand 
years after the creation of the world. God desired 
t6 preserve to His Church in every age a sure 
testimony of the resurrection from the dead* The 
number was greater, however, in the case before us 
than it had ever been in any other case. 

Now when the centurion, who had to remain at 
the cross, and others, saw the earthquake and the 
other unusual "things that were done, they feared 
greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." 
"And all the people that came together to that 
sight, beholding the things which were done, smote 
their breasts, and returned.' ' 

All this, according to the Evangelists, took place 
at the cross before Christ expired. But we cannot 
consider the whole of it in one sermon. For the 
present, therefore, we shall confine ourselves to two 
points. First, why the Evangelists quote more 
Scripture when they give the history of the passion 
than on any other subject. Secondly, why God 
destined His Son to die upon the cross. 

The Evangelists cite so many Scripture passages 
for every part of the history of Christ's sufferings, 
in order to combat the offence occasioned at sight 
of these sufferings, which must have sorely tried 
the disciples in particular. Not only the unbeliev- 
ing Jews, but even the disciples of Jesus were 
offended at Christ's dying such a miserable and 
ignominious death. Both the Jews and the disci- 

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pies thought that if this were Christ He would 
surely build up again the poor, oppressed and 
ruined kingdom. Why, even after Christ's resur- 
rection the disciples continued to think in this way, 
for they lamented that the Lord was about to 
ascend to heaven and depart from the earth, and at 
the mount of Olives they asked Him, "Lord, wilt 
Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to 
Israel ?" 

When the Lord had now fallen into the hands of 
His enemies and had suffered Himself to be slain 
on the cross, all the hopes which the disciples had 
entertained for His glory vanished. The two disci- 
ples who went to Emmaus freely confessed this, 
saj 7 ing: "We trusted that it had been He which 
should have redeemed Israel," as if they would say: 
It is all over now ; we hoped for things different 
from those which we have realized. The Jews 
were offended still more seriously ; for, because the 
Lord was dying so shamefully and would not save 
Himself, they regarded Him, in spite of His miracles 
and sermons, as an impostor, and tauntingly de- 
manded that He should come down from the cross 
if He were the Son of God, so that they might 
believe in Him. The Jews hated Jesus, the disciples 
loved Him; the Jews rejoiced in His misfortune, 
the disciples were saddened and discouraged by it. 
Notwithstanding that they were thus differently 
disposed toward Christ, they all, both disciples and 
Jews, thought that it was all over with Him now 
and that He was not the true Messiah. 

But how must we account for this opinion and 
for such offence? Simply thus: they left the 
Scriptures out of sight and had not diligently 

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studied the Prophets. For it is written in the 
Prophets, Isa. 53, that the Messiah must suffer and 
die. The Scriptures, Isa. 53, declare that He should 
be "numbered with the transgressors." In the 41, 
Ps. and in the 11. chap, of Zech. we are told that 
His "own familiar friend" should betray Him and 
sell Him for "thirty pieces of silver." The 22. Ps. 
plainly tells us that the soldiers should part His 
garments among them, and cast lots upon His 
vesture, while the 69. declares that when He shall 
thirst in His agony upon the cross they shall give 
Him vinegar to drink. It had been prophesied 
that there should not a bone of Him be broken and 
that a spear should pierce His side, Ex. 12, Zech. 
12, Ac. Now, if the disciples and the Jews had 
carefully studied the writings of the Prophets, in* 
stead of finding cause for offence in Christ's suffer- 
ings and scandalous death, they would have found 
comfort therein. If they had studied the Scrip- 
tures, the fact that it came to pass just as the Holy 
Spirit, who cannot lie nor err, through the Prophets 
and in the Psalms, had predicted concerning Christ, 
would have led them to the firm conclusion that 
this was the Messiah indeed. But they gave no 
heed to the Scriptures, and therefore could not 
resist the offence which, like a flood, swept them 
away, so that they entirely lost Christ. 

The Apostles personally experienced the disad- 
vantage of departing from the Scriptures and not 
following them, and therefore continually quoto 
the Scriptures as they write the history of the pas- 
sion. By so doing they would say : It seems ridic- 
ulous that the crucified Jesus, who hangs there so 
miserably upon the cross, and who was treated so 

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unmercifully arid with such excessive wantonness 
by the soldiers, should be the Sou of God and th$ 
true Messiah. But let us not be oftended in Him ! 
Jf we notice what the Holy Spirit had prediote4 
long before through the Prophets concerning tb$ 
Messiah, we shall find that this Jesus is the true 
Messiah, and that He bore what had been appointed 
for the Messiah to bear. It is most certainly true 
that if we do not hold to the Word we shall not be 
able to defend ourselves against the least offence* 
We are lost unless we take refuge in the Word. 

Every one should, for this reason, flee, as if the 
devil himself were in pursuit, from sects and fanatics, 
like the Pope, the Sacramentarians and others, who 
try to substitute human notions for the written 
Word. If we yield to such as these, we step, as it 
were, from the rock into the quicksand, where, the 
more we try to gain a foot-hold, the more we sink, 
and where it is impossible to save ourselves. God's 
Word alone is the true and enduring rock that 
affords a sure foundation. Let him, therefore, whe 
would walk in the right way, see that he has Clod's 
Word. When Christ says, "This is my body," 
"this is my blood," let him believe and not follow 
the deceivers who say, It is mere brepd, it is ipere 
wine. When Christ says, "He that believeth on 
me shall never see death," let him believe it and 
not obey the Pope, who points him to the sacrifice 
of the mass, to the intercession of saints and t$ 
good works. Then he may be sure that he is right, 
and that he has escaped the ofienee. 

We now propose briefly to consider also the 
second point, v\z. : why it was decreed |n God's 
eepecial counsel that God's Sop, our Lord and 

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Saviour, should die just as He did; for the Jews 
held the death upon the cross as the most offensive 
and disgraceful, and as far more detestable than we 
hold the death upon the gallows or the wheel. We 
find the reason for this written Deut. 21 : "And if 
a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and 
he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a 
tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the 
tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; 
(for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that 
thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God 
giveth thee for an inheritance." 

Now, it is indifferent whether God pronounces 
this severe judgment upon those banged in view of 
the future calamity that His Son Himself should be 
thus slain, or in view of the past calamity that 
disobedient uian fell in Paradise and ate of the 
forbidden fruit. The chief and most important 
consideration here is, that we should learn and 
remember well that God calls all those accursed 
who die on the tree. IFor from this it immediately 
follows that, since Christ also died on a tree, He 
too became & curse and w*i8 called accursed. Hence 
the devil and the world took particular delight in 
bringing upon Him that very death which God 
Himself had called accursed. Paul, however, 
teaches us how we must understand this passage in 
Deut., and whether its contents ought to be a sub- 
ject for joy or for offence ; for in speaking of it he 
sayu, Gal. 3 : 

''Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 
law, being mode a curse for us ; for it is written, 
Cursed is every one that bangeth on a tree ; that 
the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gen- 

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tiles through Jesus Christ ; that we might receive 
the promise of the Spirit through faith," 

We should, by all means, consider this passage 
carefully. Paul very nicely brings the two little 
words, "curse" and "blessing," side by side, and 
leads us back to the promise made to Abraham 
when God said, "In thy seed shall all the nations 
of the earth be blessed." For it follows that, if in 
Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth were to 
b£ blessed, all the nations of the earth must have 
been under the curse; else they would not have 
needed a promise of blessing. Again, this seed, in 
which the blessing was to come, must have been 
that only blessed seed, with which God is not 
wroth, but which He accompanies with pure grace 
and blessing. It is plain, however, who this seed 
of Abraham is ; namely, Jesus Christ, born of the 
virgin Mary, the Only Begotten of the Father, and 
the only one full of grace and truth. All others, 
counting from Adam to the very last man, are not 
children of grace by nature, but God is angry with 
them and hostile to them, and they are not blessed, 
but cursed. And why ? Because they all are sinners. 

But behold the result! The blessed seed of Abra- 
ham is nailed to that tree, or cross, to which God 
refers when He says, "Cursed is every one that 
hangeth on a tree ;" and it is therefore no longer 
called the blessed seed, but the accursed. Paul 
comes out boldly with this, saying, Christ was 
"made a curse." Let us hear the reason for this. 

It is we who, on account of our sins, are a curse, 
and under the wrath of God. Christ, the only 
begotten Son of God, is full of grace and truth. 
How, then, does He come to be nailed to the tree? 

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Why does He thrust Himself under the wrath of 

God? It was for our sake, Paul tells us; "He was 

made a curse for us;" He desired to bear God's 

wrath and atone for our sins, that we might be 

made blessed, that is, receive the Holy Spirit, be 

freed from sin, and become the children of God. 

This may be illustrated by the case of a poor beggar 

who has many debts, but is unable to pay them ; 

another man, who is able to pay these debts, comes 

to his assistance, becomes his surety, thus making 

himself a debtor, and pays the poor man's debts. 

Paul expresses this very nicely, Rom. 8 : "The law 

could not" deliver us from sin and death, and so 

God Himself helped us. He sent "His own Son ia 

the likeness of sinful flesh," that is, His Son became 

man, assuming our flesh and blood. And God "for 

sin, condemned sin in the flesh," that is, God has 

made us free from sin through His only begotten 

Son, who became a sin-offering and had to atone 

for sin, thus bringing the blessing of Abraham 

upon us who were under the curse. In 2 Cor. 5, 

Paul himself interprets this latter : God "hath made 

Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we 

might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 

Christ, therefore, became both "a curse," and 

afterward also "sin," that is, a sin-offering, upon 

which rest the sins of all men, and hence also the 

wrath of God and a miserable death. Since these 

things rest upon this offering, we are relieved, for 

they rest on us no longer. This is the reason why 

John the Baptist calls Him a Lamb, meaning a 

sheep for the slaughter, a Sacrifice, appointed by 

God to take away the sins of the whole world. 

And the Lord Himself says, John 12 : "And I, if I 

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be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto 
me." And again, John 3: "As Moses lifted up 
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son 
of man be lifted up ; that whosoever believeth in 
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," 

Paul says that he did not know anything and 
was "determined not to know anything," "save 
Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Christ was 
crucified so that He might sanctify, deliver and 
justify us, who, had we been left to ourselves, 
would have eternally remained and perished under 
sin and death, and under the tyranny of Satan. 

And should we now be offended at the cross? 
Was it, after all, an ignominious death ? We should 
heartily thank God that His Son hangs upon the 
cross, bearing the curse under which we should 
still be on account of our sins. There He hangs as 
one condemned, and as one whom God hates and 
visits now with shame and want and agony. This 
is so, Paul says, for thy sake and for my sake, that 
the blessing might come on us. For if the curse 
had continued to rest on us, we would never have 
received the blessing. But lo, the blessed Seed 
draws near and takes the curse, which rests on us, 
upon Himself, and the blessing, which rests on 
Him, He gives to us. Since He would and should 
become a curse for us, no other death except this 
death on the cross was suitable, for this is the 
death which God^ Word had declared accursed. 

Let us, then, thoroughly learn here to judge, not 
according to what the eye perceives, but according 
to what the Word of God declares. According to 
appearances the Lord Jesus' death is a shameful 
death and, as God Himself calls it, an accursed 

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death ; and the tree on which He dies, an execrable 
tree, — a cursed cross, aud this because all our sins 
hang on it. For sin and the curse, or God's anger, 
and every misfortune, — all these belong together. 
Therefore Isaiah says : "Many were astonished at 
Thee; His visage was so marred more than any 
man, and His form more than the sons of men." 
Again: "When we shall see Him, there is no 
beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised 
and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and 
acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our 
faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed 
Him not." This is the way these things appear, 
and it is impossible for human reason to see them 
in a different light, because God calls every one 
accursed who dies on a tree. The cross is cursed ; 
He who hangs on it is cursed; the cause of His 
hanging there is also cursed, for sin demands the 
curse ; and the greater the number of sins that lie 
on the Lord Jesus, the greater also the curse. 

But let us look a little further and find what 
follows from this that Christ, the blessed Seed, dies 
such an accursed death and becomes a curse for us 
Himself. Paul, in very appropriate words, states 
this as the result : "That the blessing of Abraham 
might come on the Gentiles," and that thus "we 
might receive the fioly Spirit." This we find to be 
altogether different from that which we can see 
with the bodily eye. This disgraceful death which 
God has cursed is an offence to the eye, but to us it 
is a blessed death, for it takes the curse away from 
us and brings God's blessing to us. The tree which 
in itself is an accursed tree, is for us a blissful tree. 
It is that precious altar, upon which God's Son 

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offers Himself to God, His Father, for our sins. It 
is that glorious altar, at which He appears as the 
true and eternal priest. For He is brought to the 
tree, and He makes it a blessed altar, that we might 
be released from sin, and receive God's grace and 
be God's children. 

No wonder, then, that the old teachers enter- 
tained such excellent thoughts about the cross and 
the accursed tree. There in Paradise, they say, a 
beautiful tree occasioned our falling into sin and 
death ; here, however, an old, dry, yes accursed tree 
occasioned our deliverance from sin and our receiv- 
ing everlasting life. Here hangs God's Son with 
arms extended as a testimony that He will cast no 
one out, but gladly receive every one and draw all 
unto Him, as He says He will, John 12. His head 
is lifted toward heaven, pointing out to us the way 
of life eternal. His feet reach toward the ground 
where they bruise the head of Satan, that old ser- 
pent creeping on the earth, forcing from him all 
his power. That power over us which Satan 
received because of our sins he surely loses now, in 
virtue of the dear Lord Jesus' hanging on the cross, 
where He atones for our sins with His death and 
becomes a curse in our stead. 

Therefore, let us here learn to acknowledge and 
to praise our merciful heavenly Father's gracious 
will toward us. For He spared not His own Son, 
but delivered Him up to die, yea, to die upon the 
cross, and suffered Him to be made a curse; so that 
we might obtain the blessing, be set free from sin, 
receive the Holy Spirit, and through Him become 
God's children and be eternally saved. God grant 
this to us all. Amen* 

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Christ's Prayer on the Cross. — The Malefactor 
on the Right. 

Luke 23, 32-43. And there were also two others, malefactors, led 
with Him to be put to death. And when the? were come to the place 
which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, 
one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, 
Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do. And they 
parted His raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. 
And the rulers also with them derided Him, saying, He saved others; 
let Him save Himself, if He be Christ, the chosen of God And the 
soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar, 
and saying. If Thou be the King of- the Jews, save Thyself. And a 
superscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, and 
Latin, and Hebrew, This is the King of the Jews. And one of the 
malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou 1)6 
Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him, 
saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condem- 
nation ? and we indeed justly ; for we receive the due reward of our 
deeds : but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto 
Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou coniest into Thy kingdom. 
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou 
be with me in paradise. 

ohe holy Evangelist here mentions two things 
that are very consolatory. Therefore, al- 
though the other Evangelists have omitted them in 
their record of Christ's sufferings, we shall treat of 
them here, so that this record may be before us in 
its completeness. The first of these things is, that 
Christ, immediately after the cross, to which He 
had been nailed, was erected, began to pray, saying, 
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what 
they do." The other thing we wish to notice is, 
that the malefactor on the right of Christ, hearing 
this prayer, learned from it that Jesus was the Son 

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of God and the very Christ, and therefore desired 
to be remembered by Him when He should have 
come into His kingdom. 

Let us now consider these two things, for they 
are full of consolation and we can never sufficiently 
meditate upon them nor explain them. And, 
besides all this, it is necessary for us, not only to 
behold the works and sufferings of this Man, but 
also most carefully to heed the words proclaimed 
by Him ; for these declare the reason of His deeds 
and sufferings, and their consequence. 

It is of the greatest importance, however, to dis- 
tinguish between the suffering of our Lord Jesus 
and that of all other men. This distinction is 
momentous, not only because Jesus Christ is eternal 
God, who created heaven and earth and all things, 
but also because His suffering had a peculiar cause, 
and because the benefit, or fruit, of His suffering is 
such that it could not have been produced by the 
suffering of any other man, or of an angel, or of 
any creature. He suffered, as you lately heard, not 
for Himself, but for us, that we might be delivered 
from sin and death. This we also learn from the 
words He here speaks in our text, which words it 
behooves every Christian to observe and to entwine 
in his soul as his most precious treasure and com- 

The words He spoke upon the cross, "Father, 
forgive them ; for they know not what they do," 
clearly show, that He was attending to His true 
priestly office even while suspended in the air upon 
the cross; and that He was fulfilling the work 
which brought Him to earth, not only with His 
suffering, in that He sacrificed Himself, but also 

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with prayer, both sacrifice and prayer belonging to 
the office of the priest. Christ tells us that the 
sacrifice consisted chiefly in His sanctifying Himself 
for our sakes, so that we "also might be sanctified 
through the truth," John 17; or, according to 
John 10, in His laying down His "life for the 
sheep." There are many more passages of this 
kind, all of which show that His sufferings were 
not to be for Himself, but for us. The zeal with 
which He here performed this work and offered 
this sacrifice was such that He even praj'ed that 
the Father would forgive those who crucified Him, 
— that He would pardon and not punish their sin. 
He prayed thus that all might know why He was 
brought to the cross, and that they might receive 
comfort from this knowledge. 

This prayer, therefore, should teach us, first of 
all, that our dear Lord Jesus is a priest, and that 
He fulfilled the duties of His priestly office there 
upon the cross. To pray for sinners is, indeed, one 
of the proper employments of the priesthood. 
Now, Aaron, serving under the law, was invested 
with peculiar priestly apparel made for glory and 
for beauty. But would we know with what priestly 
robes Christ was clad and what the altar was at 
which He served, we need merely look at the cross. 
There we see Him entirely naked, full of wounds 
and void of every trace of sacerdotal splendor, 
fctill He attended to His priestly duties most per- 
fectly and carefully, even praying for His foes. Let 
us not be offended at His unpriestly appearance, 
for the work of this Priest has a significance en- 
tirely different from that of Moses' priests. This 
difference we learn even from the superscription 

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written over Him, which declares Him to he "The 
King of the Jews," the correctness of which title 
He had Himself publicly and clearly confessed 
before Pilate. 

Neither does this title harmonize with His 
appearance. Instead of wearing a scarlet robe, His 
body is covered with blood and wounds and bruises. 
Instead of a golden crown. He wears a crown of 
thorus. There upon the cross we see a Priest and 
King, of whom the world is ashamed, whom the 
world despises, and whom it regards as neither 
King nor Priest. This is just what Isaiah says: 
"When we shall see Him, there is no beauty that 
we should desire Him. . He is despised and rejected 
of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with 
grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; 
He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." . This 
Priest offers us His own body and blood upon the 
cross in a place that was dishonored, desecrated, 
yea, accursed. This shall ever be our dearest, 
loveliest and most graceful garment, no matter how 
it is regarded by the world and the natural eye. 
Bulls, heifers and calves were sacrificed in the tem- 
ple upon a consecrated altar, but Christ sacrifices 
Himself upon an altar that was not consecrated. 
Gallows and places of execution are to this day 
horrid and dishonorable, and Moses writes: "He 
that is hanged is accursed of God." Now, the 
world thinks it disgraceful and dishonorable that 
this Priest was not permitted to bring His offering 
even to the place where heifers and calves were 
sacrificed. But this was for us and for our good, 
that we might learn that He has brought a lully 
satisfactory offering for our sins, as it was stated 

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already in the preceding sermon. Since our sina 
could not be atoned for and removed by any other 
than this Priest who is the eternal Son of God, it is 
our fault that He could not have a more honorable 
altar and a more precious garment. This is no 
hindrance, however, to the discharge of His office. 
He not only does offer His body and blood, but also 
prays for poor, ignorant sinners. 

We should, therefore, be heartily comforted 
because of this Priest and His office. Even as He 
suffers not alone for those who were present at His 
crucifixion, took hold of Him and nailed Him to 
the cross, so neither does He pray for them alone, 
but also for us, otherwise the prayer of Christ 
would receive too limited an interpretation. Those 
present then were merely our servants and minis- 
ters. Had it not been my sin and thy sin that 
nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, these men would 
surely not have been able to molest Him. 

He now comes forward as the true High Priest 
and Lamb of God, by the sacrifice of Himself to 
atone for the sins of all the w.orld and to conquer 
death for men, and this is the only reason why the 
Jews and Gentiles receive power to harm Him. 
Thus we see that when He prays for those who 
crucify Him, He prays for us and all men, who by 
our sins had furnished the cause for His crucifixion 
and death. For this reason we should not regard 
the gallows, or the cross, on which Christ suffered, 
as anything else than that altar, upon which He 
offers up His life and at which He discharges the 
priestly duty of prayer, to the end that we might 
be free from sin and everlasting death. For who- 
ever takes sin away, takes away death also, because 

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when sin is gone then death has lost its power, and 
therefore hell also. 

Christ, our only and eternal High Priest, is the 
One who has done this for us on the cross. He has 
reconciled us to God, without the intervention of 
our works, by His own sufferings, having been 
made a curse for us, having died upon the cross for 
our sins, and having finally prayed for sinners. 
Let us, therefore, not forget heartily to thank Him 
for this. 

True, even popery preaches on this theme. But, 
although the text tells us so clearly and the history 
relates to us so plainly that Christ sacrificed Him- 
self upon the cross for our benefit, and that He 
Buffered in our 6tead, popery uses many words to 
make the populace believe that men must be their 
own priests, that they themselves must sacrifice for 
sin, and that their own works must merit life 
eternal. Therefore, when we now teach, and God 
be praised that we do teach it, that the Evangelists 
plainly write that Christ, the true and eternal High 
Priest, has delivered us from death and obtained 
everlasting life for us by the sacrifice of Himself, 
the blind and wretched hirelings of the Pope curse 
and condemn the divine truth and call it scandalous 
heresy. Terrible and woeful anger, blindness and 
punishment has surely been poured out upon the 
ungrateful world in that the blasphemers, these 
Papists, themselves confess and preach that Christ 
offered Himself on the cross for us, and, at the 
same time, rage against us and shed innocent blood 
because we teach this doctrine and point the people 
to this sure and everlasting consolation. Truly, 
this is a realization of Isaiah's denunciation against 


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the despisers of God's Word : "Hear ye indeed, but 
understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive 
not," and receive ye a hardened and foolish heart. 
If this were not the case it would be inexplicable 
why they so lightly esteem this Sacrifice and place 
all their confidence in their own, man-appointed 
works, such as cities, garments and food, "which 
all," Paul says, "are to perish with the using." O, 
why will men not take the consolation offered here, 
viz., that Christ sacrificed His body and His life 
and, praying for us, said: Father, here am I, a 
Mediator between Thee and poor sinners; I die 
for them ; I give myself for them; be gracious unto 

^Notwithstanding that our adversaries themselves 
read, confess and preach this, they will continue to 
yell and foam at it and to condemn us as heretics. 
Well, this is the visitation of God's dreadful wrath 
upon them. May the Lord in mercy shield us 
against such visitation. But should He ever suffer 
us to fall, I pray that He would let us fall into a 
sin which we may feel and acknowledge, and not 
into one that bids direct defiance to His grace and 
that is looked upon as holiness, - whose outward 
features it assumes. 

Let us, therefore, open our hearts and behold 
Christ, our High Priest, in His proper priestly gar- 
ment and at His proper priestly work. The eye 
does not see Him arrayed in beauty or in wealth, 
but finds Him ignominibusly hanging there in 
misery and wretchedness. But if we look into His 
heart we shall discover ornaments so bright and 
treasures so rich that we can never thank Him for 

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them sufficiently. He is adorned, in the first place, 
with that most sincere obedience in which He 
glorifies His Father by permitting Himself to be 
Spit upon, scourged and tortured. In this life we 
cannot fully comprehend the glory of this orna- 
ment; still we can understand enough of it to 
know that all pearls and purple and gold are 
nothing beside it. His other ornament is that 
great love He has for us which makes Him care so 
little about His life and His sufferings, almost for- 
getting them in the heart-felt interest He takes in 
our condition and in our nee4, and praying for us 
rather than for Himself. We cannot sufficiently 
understand such love as this; for in the heart of 
the Lord there is burning such a flame of love for 
us, that He does not seem to see or to feel His own 
most severe suffering, torture and disgrace, but only 
considers and perceives and cares for thy and my 
misery, distress and affliction. 

We cannot help acknowledging that the love of 
the Lord, who is so concerned about us that He 
entirely overlooks His own danger, injury and 
pain, is indeed a mighty, burning love. Father 
and mother, when their dear child is in danger or 
want, rush through the fire to save it, caring not 
for their own safety, but only for that of their 
child. The love of our Lord Jesus is also such that 
He passes through affliction as through a fire, to 
grasp us with the hand of mercy and affection. 
Now, this is the fitting garment with which onp 
eternal High Priest is arrayed. This is not an outer 
vestment for the eye of reason to*behol<J ; but the 
eye of faith perceives it in Jesus within, as Hip 
words also sufficiently testiiy. . 

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the chief thing in the entire history of the pas- 
sion is that Christ gave Himself for us and, caring 
for nothing as much as for our deliverance, reached 
toward us, and pursued us through all maimer of 
affliction as through a fire. To this main point we 
should pay especial attention, and cling to it so 
closely that it cannot be wrested from our hands. 

We have need of this doctrine not only as a 
source of comfort, but also as a source of strength, 
with which to counteract the poison prescribed to 
the people by the Pope, who would lift them into 
heaven by their own righteousness and work and 
merit. If our works could have done this, why 
was it necessary for Christ, the Son of God, to sufter? 
But here we find Him obediently and patiently 
bringing His ottering, His own body and life, and 
beseeching His Father to haviB mercy and to for- 
give. This is proof sufficient that nothing of the 
kind could have been accomplished with our works ; 
for it is not as easy a thing to obtain forgiveness of 
sins as the Papists dream. True, it is easy enough 
to put on a cowl and to fast, keep vigils and sing a 
great deal ; but to come into possession of pardon 
for sin requires something quite different from our 
filthy works, and something far greater. If we rely 
on our fasts and vigils and prayers, we will have to 
wait quite a while indeed to receive help of God ! 
But Isaiah states the plan : "He was wounded for 
bur transgressions, He was bruised for our iniqui- 
ties ;" "He hath borne our griefs." The Papists 
themselves are constrained to confess that the suf- 
ferings and death of the Lord Jesus are far exalted 
above our prayers, our good works, our sufferings, 
our charity, our fasting. He, therefore, who tries 

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to atone for sin with such things as these, shall 
surely not succeed. To succeed in this requires, as 
Isaiah clearly says, a different man and different 
works and merite. Therefore, he who would apply 
his own merits to the removing of sin, blasphemes 
the death and sacrifice and prayer of Christ, because 
he makes his own prayer and offering equal, nay, 
superior, to the offering and prayer of Christ. 
Against this abomination we must diligently guard. 

The Lord does not however, pray at random, but 
makes a distinction between those for whom He 
prays and others, saying, "Father, forgive them; 
for they know not what they do." He thus desig- 
nates two classes of sinners. Some know that they 
do wrong, and still do so without fear, prompted by 
pure malice and hatred against the acknowledged 
divine truth. These commit the "sin unto death," 
as it is called 1 John 5, that is, the sin against the 
Holy Ghost, if they continue in such willful sin 
and do not confess, abstain from and ask forgiveness 
for it, but remain impenitent to the end, and besides 
blaspheme the Word of God aud the truth which 
cannot be gainsaid, as most of the Papists now are 

The Papists know that our doctrine is true and 
divine; they know that Christ commanded us to 
receive the whole Sacrament, that He did not forbid 
matrimony, that He gave no command concerning 
the sacrifice of the mass, and that He died for our 
sins. Still, they condemn us, who hold these doc- 
trines, as heretics, and punish those of their subjects 
whom they discover believing our doctrine and 
using the Sacrament as it was instituted by Christ. 
This is willful persecution of the truth, and there- 

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fore not a sin of ignorance. They commit this sin 
in such a way that it cannot be forgiven them ; for 
it is a sin that is in direct conflict with forgiveness, 
because it is neither abandoned nor confessed. 
Forgiveness of sin demands that sin be both con- 
fessed and renounced. 

Other sinners sin ignorantly. But we must 
understand their case correctly. David, for in- 
stance, knew well enough that he was doing wrong 
and sinning against God in taking the wife of 
Uriah and then having him slain. But his carnal 
lust and the devil so impetuously impelled him to 
the deed that he committed it before rightly con- 
sidering what he was doing. Afterward, however, 
he confessed his sin, was grieved by it, wished that 
he had not committed it, and prayed for mercy. 

We all are encumbered with this sin and are 
easily and unawares led astray. Sometimes we fall 
through fear, sometimes through carelessness and 
weakness, like Peter, and sometimes through pre- 
sum ptuousness. Such sins Christ bore with Him 
to tbe cross and for such He prayed ; for these are 
bare and naked sins, which are not inconsistent 
with grace, being recognized and confessed and 
their forgiveness being sought. Thus we often find 
that harlots, villains, murderers, and other wicked 
people, who know that they have done wrong and 
make no attempt at justifying themselves, find 
mercy. To the believer God does not impute such 
acknowledged sins, because the sacrifice of Christ 
ia interposed between them and God. But they 
who knowingly and willfully persist in sin and 
even excuse their sins, sin against the Holy Ghost 
and deny the grace of God. For them Christ does 

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not pray here, but only for those who know not 
what they do, and who, as said before, fall through 
fear, weakness and the like. The latter can rely 
upon the ottering and prayer of Christ and can he 
assured that their sins are forgiven, for Christ here 
prays for them, and His prayer was surely accepted. 
We must not doubt this, but find in it consolation 
and joy. 

So much it was meet briefly to say concerning 
Christ's prayer on the cross, with which He declares 
why He is suffering there, namely, that they who 
sin ignorantly and then repent might, for His Sake, 
have a merciful God, who does not impute to them, 
but graciously forgives, their sin. 

Let us now look a little also at the history of the 
malefactor on the right of Christ. We can nowhere 
find an incident of more remarkable beauty than 
here. The poor fellow cannot deny his sins; he 
knows that he has sinned, and that he must now 
die for his sins. He cannot, therefore, boast before 
God of any good works, or of any merit of his own. 
He even reproves his comrade, who, railing on the 
Lord Jesus, said, "If Thou be Christ, save Thyself 
and us," by answering him thus : We are indeed 
justly punished, "for we receive the due reward of 
'our deeds : but this Man hath done nothing amiss." 
He thus confesses that he had well deserved that 
dreadful death. It is a matter of astonishment, 
therefore, in the first place, that, having every 
reason to fear God on account of his sins, the male- 
factor still was confident, as we shall hear, that the 
Lord Jesus would take him with Him into His 

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It is a matter of great astonishment, in the second 
place, that this one man did not stumble at the 
huge stumbling-stone laid in his way by the entire 
council of Jerusalem, including the temporal and 
spiritual government, which mocked and reviled 
the Lord Jesus. The chief spiritual rulers said: 
"He saved others, let Him save Himself, if He be 
Christ, the Chosen of God." The soldiers also 
mocked Him, saying, "If Thou be the King of the 
Jews, save Thyself;" for the superscription written 
over Him declared that He was "Jesus of Nazareth, 
the King of the Jews." The malefactor crucified 
on the left of Christ said : "If Thou be Christ, save 
Thyself and us." This he said, not because he 
desired help, but because he wanted to insult and 
ridicule the Lord. In short, the whole world is 
offended in Christ, who hangs on the cross, and it 
does not esteem Him. Even the disciples, although 
a part of them stood by the cross, had lost all hope. 

The poor malefactor on the right alone steps 
over the rock of offence and dares to call Christ, 
who hangs on the cross at his side, a Lord and 
King. He gives the lie to all the world, cares not 
what others think of him, and proclaims Christ to 
be an everlasting King. These are his words: 
"Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy 
kingdom." He calls Christ a Lord, says He has a 
kingdom, and desires Him, when He shall have 
entered His kingdom, to remember him. Sow, 
the time rendered it certain, that neither of them 
could live till eveuing. Therefore he believes that 
Christ is the Lord of another and an eternal life. 
This faith and this confession, found, as it was, in 

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the midst of a world that despaired of Christ and 
hated Him, must have been indeed a great and 
exquisite faith,-— a glorious confession. 

The question may occur to us, whence could the 
malefactor have obtained this abundant and accurate 
knowledge, by which he was able to recognize and 
proclaim Christ as the Lord of eternal life, or who 
could have been his instructor? Without a doubt, 
he learned this alone from Christ's prayer on the 
cross. The prophet Isaiah, chap. 53, declares that 
the Messiah should suffer and be "numbered with 
the transgressors," and also that He should bear 
"the sins of many and make intercession for the 
transgressors." This prophecy was fulfilled on the 
cross. The innocent Lord, who had done no evil, 
hangs there between two murderers. And as He 
begins to pray, and says, "Father, forgive them ; 
for they know not what they do," the malefactor 
catches the little word "Father." People were not 
in the habit of conversing with God in this way. 
Christ is the only One who can speak thus to God, 
and He it is who has taught us thus to speak. The 
malefactor hence concludes that Christ must be 
God's Son, and recognizes Him, by His praying for 
sinners, as the true Messiah, or Christ. The quoted 
passages from Isaiah, and similar passages from 
other prophets which he had heard, either in the 
temple at Jerusalem, or elsewhere in some syna- 
gogue, but which he had not understood, now, no 
doubt, occurred to him. He takes these passages 
together, and the Holy Spirit makes these prophe- 
cies so bright and clear to his soul that he can con- 
tain himself no longer, but confesses with his lips 

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what he believes in his heart, and says, "Lord, 
remember me tirhen Thou eomest into Thy king- 

He would say : Thou art the Son of God. For 
our sius Thou sutterest on earth this dreadful death 
upon the cross. But Thou shalt afterward ascend 
into an everlasting kingdom and be Lord over all. 
There, O Lord, remember me ! I am willing now 
to die, for I have well deserved death. But- do 
Thou not forget me when Thou eomest into Thy 
kingdom. — Behold, what a deep knowledge of 
Christ Jesus this man derived from Christ's short 
prayer ! This prayer was the sermon that taught 
him true wisdom. 

The knowledge and confession of Christ which 
proceeded from the malefactor on the cross, is the 
very same knowledge and confession by which God 
preserves the Christian Church to-day. Though 
everything else should fail, and emperors, kings, 
popes and bishops cease to be^ God will still retain 
a small company that shall have His Spirit and 
that shall confess His name before the world. 
When the disciples, and others who are closely 
allied to the Lord Jesus, refuse to confess and 
believe, and deny the Lord through fear, and are 
oftended in Him and desert Him, then some male- 
factor or murderer must appear, to confess this 
Christ, to preach concerning Him, and to teach 
others what they should think of Him and why 
they should be comforted in Him. The Lord our 
God is determined not to leave Christ without 
followers who coufess Him, even if He must have 
recourse to the thief upon the gallows, or the 
murderer upon the wheel. 

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22* SERMONS 0» lttE G0SPEL3. 

This is, therefore, a consoling history; fbr it 
teaches us, first of all, that they wflo follow Christ 
and receive all mercy from Him, are none other 
than those sinners who confess their sins and 
heartily pray for grace; these shall receive grac^ 
and mercy. With His previous prayer, "Father, 
forgive them," Ac, Hia present action corresponds^ 
He suffers uow, that sin may be forgiven. And 
then, upon the cross, before He dies, the deaf Lord 
soon proves, in the case of the malefactor, or mur- 
derer, how beneficial and powerful His sufferings 
are and what they avail. He there proves that His 
sufferings benefit all poor sinners who, with the 
malefactor, believe and confess that Christ is an 
eternal King; that by His agony, death and resur- 
rection He has acquired for them the forgiveness of 
their sins and their deliverance from everlasting 
death ; and that He will take them into His eternal 

Hence we can conclude with such certainty as 
not to entertain the vestige of a doubt, that Christ 
did not offer Himself on the cross for saints, for no 
mortal, let him be who he may, is holy of himself; 
but that He offered Himself for sinners, for He 
came to call sinners to repentance and not the 
righteous, as He Himself says, Matt. 9. Therefore, 
he who tries to get to heaven by means of a holy 
life, good works, and personal merits, deceives 
himself. He who does not confess himself a sinner, 
can find no access to the Lord Jesus; for Christ did 
not die for His own, but for the sinner's sake. 

Christ converted the malefactor on the cross into 
a saint, not suffering him to remain and to perish 
in his sins. We should therefore regard this Mfc- 

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tory as an example showing by very deed what the 
Redeemer sought and acquired by His sufferings, 
and what He accomplished by the priestly sacrifice 
and prayer which He offered on the cross. He took 
sin upon Himself, not because He delights in sin, 
neither because He would have us remain under 
sin and continue in iniquity. No, He suffers for 
sinners so that they need not go on in sin, and so 
that they may become converted and be pious and 
holy. This His purpose was accomplished in the 
oase of the malefactor, who, being converted, 
accused himself of sin, but still trusted in the Lord 
Jesus, believing that God, through Him and for 
His sake, would forgive his sins and give him life 

The malefactor is thus made an entirely different 
man. His shameful and justly merited death now 
becomes a real act of divine service. He suffers no 
longer as a murderer, but as a saint. He dies in 
the true confession and in heart-felt confidence in 
God's grace through Christ. He is sincerely grieved 
for his sins. He now begins to obey God and to 
do many good works. With his sufferings he 
honors and praises God. Publicly, before all the 
world, he glorifies the crucified Jesus, exhorting 
and admonishing every one to repent and to believe 
in this Lord. In short, his faith in Christ does not 
only cause him to be a saint, but it even bears him 
into paradise and into everlasting life, according to 
Christ's promise : "To-day shalt thou be with me 
in paradise." 

Let us follow this example and not act like the 
rude and ungodly, who say: I will sin so that 
Christ may have a chance to save me and to show 

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me mercy. No, no ; but let us say : I am born in 
sin and am full of filth and evil lusts. It is, there- 
fore, not necessary for me first to sin in order to be 
able to confess myself a sinner. I have, alas, been 
only too great a sinner from the very beginning ! 
I am already under the curse of God and condemned 
to eternal death. Therefore, since God in infinite 
compassion calls me to repentance, will I now turn 
myself unto Him and take refuge in this Lord, 
whose suffering has ransomed sinners, and whose 
innocent death has delivered me from the death bo 
well deserved and long since merited, and who has 
reconciled me unto God ! 

He, however, who abuses this sermon of mercy, 
and refuses to forsake and confess and repent of his 
sins, may look upon the murderer on the left of 
Christ and upon the rulers of the Jews and upon 
the soldiers, and consider how they fared in their 
wickedness and what they merited with their im- 
penitent lives. If we would be benefited by the 
Lord Jesus and by His agony and prayer, we must 
follow the example of the malefactor who confessed 
his sins and prayed for grace, and acknowledged 
that Christ was the Lord and the King of everlast- 
ing life. May the dear Lord Jesus, our eternal 
King, grant us this. Amen. 

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Chktst Commits His Mother to the Care op John. — 

The Soldiers do not Break the Legs op Christ, 

but with a Spear Pierce His Side, from 

which Blood and Water Flow. 

John 19, 25-37. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, 
and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magda- 
lene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and.the disciple standing 
by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy 
Son ! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother I And from 
that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, 
Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scrip- 
tare might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel 
full of vinegar : and tbey filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it 
upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had 
received the vinegar, He said, It is finished : and He bowed His bead, 
and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the prep- 
aration, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the 
Babbath day, (for that sabbath day was a high day,) besought Pilate 
that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the 
other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, 
and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs : but one 
of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there 
out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record 
is true ; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 
For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A 
bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another Scripture saith, 
They shall look on Him whom they pierced. 

jvt. John, toward the end of the passion history, 
relates thre'e things, about which the other 
Evangelists do not write, but which are, neverthe- 
less, very important in point of doctrine and con- - 
solation. These also must be considered, that we 
may have the whole of this history before us. 

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The first of these things is, that Christ, while on 
the cross, commends His mother to John, and also 
John to His mother, so that they might be inclined 
toward each other as are a mother and her son, and 
that they might love and in every way assist each 
other. John tells us too that he immediately took 
the mother of Jesus into bis care and treated her 
as if she had been his own mother. 

This narrative is generally regarded as an illus- 
tration of the fourth commandment, which says: 
"Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days 
may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God 
giveth thee." With this accords the fact that John 
lived longer than the rest of the Apostles, namely, 
sixty-eight years after the resurrection. Although 
this explanation is not improper as far as it goes, it 
is still too narrow ; for that which the Lord does 
and says here upon the cross dare not be regarded 
as done and sai/1 for only a few individuals. Christ 
intended His works and words to embrace the 
whole world, but especially the Christian Church. 

That, therefore, which Christ here says to Mary 
and John alone, we must regard as a command for 
all Christians and for the entire Church. Since 
Christ hangs upon the cross and, by His death, 
saves us all from sin and death, we must be toward 
each other like a mother and her. son, who in all 
things sincerely love, aid and advise each other. 
This is the meaning also of the command which 
the Lord so often repeats during the last Supper: 
"This is my commandment, that ye love one an- 
other, as I have loved you ;" "A new commandment 
I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I 
have loved you." The love between a mother and 

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her children is the deepest and most sincere that 
can be found. 

The Lord uses the words "mother" and "son" 
with special reference to both parts of the Church, 
viz., to those who teach the Word and to those who 
hear. Even as a mother nourishes her infant and 
diligently cares for it till it is grown up and has 
become strong, so honest pastors also labor and 
take pains to teach the people and render them 
good Christians. Thus Paul calls his disciples, 
whom he had reared as with a mother's trouble 
and toil, children, 1 Cor. 4; Gal. 4; 1 Thess. 2. 
The Church cannot be properly conducted unless 
they who exercise the office of the ministry have 
for her the affection of a mother. If they have not 
this love, the result will be indolence, indifference 
and unwillingness to suffer. The Lord very ex- 
plicitly teach es this in the 21. chapter of John. He 
there commands Peter to preach, but not until He 
had three times asked him : "Simon, son of Jonas, 
lovest thou me ?" By this question He meant to 
say: Unless thou lovest the lambs as a mother 
loves her children, whom she tries to rescue from 
the flames even at the peril of her own life, thou 
wilt never be fit for a preacher. In thy office as 
pastor, trouble, toil, ingratitude, hatred, envy and 
many a cross will be thy lot. Now, if the pastors 
have no motherly heart, no fervent love for the 
flock, these shall receive poor care indeed. 

On the other hand, again, they who have not 
received the command to preach, but stand in need 
of information and instruction, must deport them- 
selves like sons, suffering themselves to be taught, 
led, nourished, and cared for in other ways, thus 

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conducting themselves toward their teachers as a 
pious child conducts itself toward its mother. 
True, children's love for their mother is not as 
great as the mother's love for her children, even as 
the proverb says: Amor descendit, rum ascendit, 
that is, love moves downward, not upward. Still, 
nature prompts pious children to honor their 
parents, and to serve them and yield to them in 
everything that they desire and need. When this 
is the relation between mother and son, between 
pastor and congregation, then all is well. 

If, however, the ministers of the Church are 
lacking in motherly affection, or if the hearers are 
void of childlike fidelity, it is out of the question! 
that things should go right and that God shonld be 
pleased. This we have sadly experienced in the 
case of the Pope, the bishops and the whole priestly 
rabble, for they have no such motherly love* They 
think that the office was given them merely that 
they might be great lords and live at their ease. 
Therefore, they not only take poor care of the 
sheep, but they even, to their heart's content, skin 
and butcher the lambs in life, property and soul, as 
we only too well see. Again, we frequently find 
the deficiency in the hearers, that they, like ill-toed 
children, do not properly provide for their pastors* 
This is the case, among us, with peasants, with 
citizens, and especially with the nobility, who deal 
so closely, stingily and niggardly with their pastors, 
that seldom one is found who willingly gives to the 
ministry as much as he should. And this is dona* 
in spite of St. Paul's pointed and earnest admoni- 
tion, not to communicate sparingly of our carnal 
tilings unto them that communicate unto us spirit* 

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rial things. Such ingratitude cannot fail to injure 
the cause of the Gospel, neither can God's punish- 
ment fail to come upon such perverse children. * 

We should, therefore, carefully observe and take 
to heart this command of our Lord Jesus, who, 
upon the cross, shows such tender solicitude both 
for the teacher and the disciple, that is, for the 
ifrhole Church. Teachers and pastors He exhorts 
to motherly love, and pulpits and congregations to 
childlike faithfulness, gratitude and obedience. If 
both parties obey these blessed instructions of our 
dear Lord Jesus, all will be well and God Will 
bless and give success. So much for the first point. 

The other two points, that no bone of Christ was 
broken and that His side was pierced with a spear, 
do not appear to be of much importance. Since, 
however, the Evangelist John adduces the clear 
testimony of the Scriptures, that Moses and Zecl.a- 
riah had prophesied these things many centuries 
before they took place, and since the Holy Spirit 
speaks nothing that is useless or vain, we are bound 
to confess that these two facts are of great moment, 
however much they may have the appearance of 
trifles. The holy Evangelist John, according to 
true apostolic custom, confers on us a special bless- 
ing by everywhere quoting and interpreting Scrip- 
ture so appropriately. 

Moses, as we have already heard, wrote the clear 
command that no one should "remain all night 
upon the tree," for God had said that this would 
defile the land. As this was the day for the prep- 
aration, and as the Sabbath would begin with the 
setting of the sun, the Jews besought Pilate to 
have the bodies removed from the cross, so that 


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they might be buried yet by day, before the begin- 
ning of the festival. Pilate gave his consent. But 
as they found the two malefactors yet living, the 
soldiers, as John says, hastened their departure, at 
the command of the Jews, by breaking their arms 
and legs, as they were hanging on the cross. They 
intended to do the same with the Lord Jesus, but 
lie gave up the ghost before they had finished with. 
the two malefactors, and therefore "they brake not 
His legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear 
pierced His side," from which, to the astonishment 
of all, both blood and water flowed. These two 
things, as I have said, seem of little importance, 
but John testifies that they were not mere accidents, 
but that both of them had been foretold, the one by 
Moses, "Neither shall ye break a bone," the other 
by Zechariah, "They shall look upon me whom 
thoy have pierced." 

Now, it is true, indeed, that what Moses says, 
Ex. 12 and Num. 9, refers to the passover. How, 
then, could it occur to the Evangelist John to say : 
"These things were done that the Scripture should 
be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken," 
and what does he mean by this? He would simply 
teach us to look upon the Lord Jesus on the cross 
as the true Passover, of which the old passover in 
the law is merely the type or symbol. 

When God desired with violence to weaken the 
might of Pharaoh in Egypt and to frustrate his 
obstinate wantonness and design, and to save His 
people Israel, He commanded His people, the Jews, 
in each house, in the appointed night, to slay a 
la i :ib of the first year and roast and eat it, but to 

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strike its blood on the door-posts. The destroying 
angel was to pass over that house on whose doors 
he should see the token of the blood and smite none 
of its inmates. But where the token of the lamb's 
blood on the door was wanting, there the angel 
was in that night to smite throughout all Egypt 
the first-born both of man and beast. As Moses 
had told the people at God's command, so it came 
to pass. In the morning dead men and beasts were 
found in the houses of all the Egyptians, the 
destroyer having spared the Jews alone, because 
their doors were marked and protected by the blood 
of the lamb. 

Let us now turn to our Paschal Lamb, Christ 
Jesus. He desires to punish Pharaoh and all Egypt, 
that is, sin, death and Satan, and to rescue His 
Christian Church from tyrauny. Therefore He 
suffers Himself to be slain like the lamb of old, and 
to be sacrificed upon the cross, so that He might 
sprinkle us with His blood, and so that the destroy- 
ing angel, who, on account of our sins, had brought 
death upon us, and had received power over us, 
might pass over us and do us no harm. Paul, 1 
Cor. 5, refers to this so beautifully: "For even 
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," that we 
might be partakers of His blood, and that Satan, 
death and sin might have no authority over us and 
no power to do us hurt. This it is that John wishes 
ns to learn here from his statement that Christ, 
like the paschal lamb, had no bone broken. 

We would, however, consider here also the other 
particulars which the Jews had to observe with 
reference to the passover, so that when we see how 
perfectly the passover harmonizes with Christ, we 


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may find more consolation in this sacrifice made 
for us, and take greater interest in the Lord Jesus. 

The lamb was required to be without blemish, a 
male of the first year, healthy and strong; no other 
lamb would have answered the purposes of the 
passover. Now, as lambs one year old are very 
prolific, so this Lamb, the Lord Jesus, brought 
forth and built up His Church. The Lord Jesus is 
fclso without all blemish and deficiency, for He is 
the Son of God, and His flesh and blood is not sin- 
ful like ours, but He is holy altogether. 

The Jews were directed to take the lamb from 
the sheep, or from the goats, on the tenth day of 
the month, aud to keep it by itself until the four- 
teenth day of the month. In this way Christ was 
taken from the fold of God, that is, from the Jews, 
who were God's people, and for this reason He is 
called the Son of Abraham, or of David. He was 
separated for the special office of preaching God's 
kingdom among His people, the Jews, during the 
four years preceding His passion. 

That the lamb had to be eaten in the evening, 
indicates that Christ should come in the latter 
times, when the Jews were no longer to be the 
people of God, and when the law and ceremonies 
of Moses were to cease. It is for this reason that 
the Lord sometimes compared His Gospel to a 
supper, and that the Apostles called the days of 
the New Testament "the latter times" and "the last 

The lamb dared not to be eaten sodden or raw, 
but roasted. Throughout all Scripture, fire is an 
emblem of suffering and affliction. The lamb 
roasted with fire is, therefore, a type of Christ, who 

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snfffered death upon the cross. We dare not par- 
take of Him raw, that is, he who would receive 
Him at all, dare not be careless, secure and profane 
as our Epicureans are, who think that they cart 
believe and do as they please, and still be good 
Christians. These do not partake of the lamb 
properly, and cannot do so any more than they can 
who eat it sodden with water, that is, they who d6 
not keep the doctrine pure, but adulterate it with 
human teachings and traditions, as the Pope does. 

Unleavened bread and bitter herbs had to be 
eaten with the lamb. Thus Paul says: "Let ua 
keep the feast, not with old leaven/' refusing to 
check sin and to amend our conduct; "neithc* 
trith the leaven of malice and wickedness," Sealing 
hi hypocrisy and not heartily repenting; "but with 
the unleavened bread of sincerity," keeping a clear 
Conscience and living in the fear of God; "and 
truth," sincerely, not hypocritically, asking God's 
blessing and earnestly desiring to regulate ourselves 
according to His Word. This is the unleavened 

The herbs signify the holy cross; for, as Paul 
says: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus 
shall sutfer persecution." 

No part of the lamb was allowed to remain, but 
the whole of it had to be eaten, or else that which 
remained was to be burned with fire. Neither 
should a bone of it be broken. Just so it is with 
Christ. He who wonld be a true Christian dares 
not eat one part and leave another part uneaten. 
He must accept and believe everything that Christ 
says, and must not, like the fanatics and sects, eat 
His words piecemeal. Arhis was satisfied with 

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everything else, only lie would not believe {hat 
Christ was eternal God. The Anabaptists reject 
the baptism of children, despise this, the original 
institution, and fancy that they have found a better. 
The Sacramentarians of the present day accept 
everything Christ says, and think themselves excel- 
lent Christians. But it is not to their liking that 
Christ said, when He took the bread, "Take, eat; 
this is my body," and when He took the cup, 
"Drink ye all of it ; for this is my blood of the New 
Testament," and this they do not want tp believe. 
They do not like the taste of this and so they leave 
it uneaten, in spite of God's command that the 
whole of this Paschal Lamb should be eaten, or else 
the remainder burned with fire. And more than 
this, they even break the bones, that is, torture, 
crucify and mangle at pleasure the Word of the 
Lord Jesus, ouly so that they may give their scan- 
dalous error some plausibility. Thus we find that 
the Pope, the Anabaptists, the Sacramentarians 
and, in short, all the sects, eat only that part of the 
lamb that suits their taste, and let the parts that 
they do not relish remain, and break them to 

What must be done with the blood has already 
been related, viz., the blood of the Lamb is to pre 
vent sin, death and hell from hurting us, and, for 
all time to come, to hinder Pharaoh and the Egyp- 
tians, that is, Satan and the world, from oppressing 
and subduing us. Christ was sacrificed that He 
might make us free, John 8, and undo and destroy 
the work of Satan. 

Of all this John would remind us when he says: 
"These things were done that the Scripture should 

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be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken." 
He wishes us to regard the passover as the faithful 
picture of the entire benefit and of the real fruit of 
our Lord Jesus' sufferings. He wishes us to see 
that Christ was sacrificed for us and that His blood 
is to deliver us from sin, death and the devil, which 
constantly oppress, alarm and coerce us in the same 
way in which Pharaoh retained and vexed the 
children of Israel in Egypt. The blood of our 
Paschal Lamb, Christ Jesus, has abolished this 
servitude. We now have peace, and, fully free 
from every burden, we shall pass from dangerous 
Egypt over to the land of promise and to life 

We shall now consider the third point, which 
the Evangelist evidently regarded as very important. 
He not only introduces the testimony of the Prophet 
Zechariah, who had prophesied concerning this 
piercing of Christ's side ; but he also uses many 
and solemn words to affirm the miracle, that blood 
and water flowed from the dead body. This was 
unnatural, because when a man is dead his blood is 
cold and does not flow; and it was still more 
unnatural for both blood and water to flow from a 
corpse. Therefore John says: "He that saw it 
bare record, .... and he knoweth that he saith 
true, that ye might believe." He thus calls our 
attention to this miracle as one of great importance, 
so that we might diligently study it and fiually 
learn from it to believe; that is, that we might 
through Christ and His death, as was said above 
when speaking of the passover, have the hope of 
the forgiveness of sins and of everlasting life. This 
is the chief design of this narrative as given by the 

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Evangelist, with whom, as we shall soon see, the 
prophet completely corresponds. 

First of all, however, let us rid ourselves of the 
idea that it was merely a casual circumstance that 
one of the soldiers thrust his spear into the corpse's 
side. The soldier, of course, did this in ignorance 
of any exalted signification the act might have. 
Still it was done by God's special arrangement, else 
the Holy Spirit would not have prophesied concern- 
ing it through Zechariah so many centuries before. 
We see that the Lord retained the wounds in His 
body after the resurrection, and that He showed 
them to His disciples in particular as a mark by 
which they might recognize Him. This piercing 
of Christ's side and this gushing forth of blood and 
water were not, therefore, mere accidents, but they 
were intended to mean and to accomplish some- 

We must here be on our guard, lest we imitate 
the example commonly set by rude people, who 
say : It is none of my business what flowed from 
the Lord Jesus' side ; it is enough for me to know 
that He died on the cross. Let us not think in this 
way, but let us honor the Holy Ghost and contrib- 
ute to our own comfort by carefully learning what 
was accomplished by this piercing of Christ's side 
with the spear, which John so faithfully relates and 
which Zechariah had foretold so long before. 

In the first place, it is certain beyond all dispute, 
that it is unnatural for a deceased body to sweat or 
bleed. As soon as blood grows cold it no longer 
flows, but it stagnates. The dead body before us 
now, however, is different foom all other dead 

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bodies, and hence things take place in it that do 

not take place in any other body. True, Christ's 

body was flesh and blood like our own, and it died 

as ours must die. Yet, His flesh and blood were 

sinless, and therefore He died in such a way that 

even in His death a sign of life remained. The 

blood in all other bodies is soon cold and stagnant, 

"but in the body of the Lord Jesus it remains so 

warm and active that, as soon as His side is pierced, 

it rushes forth as from a living body's opened vein. 

John wishes us to observe this carefully, and to 

learn from it that it is the -true nature of the blood 

of our dear Lord Jesus to flow and live and be 

efficacious even after He has died. Neither was 

the blood of the paschal lamb used while the lamb 

lived, but after it was dead and had been eaten. 

The angel went by night through Egypt and smote 

all the first-born, but the houses of the Jews which 

were marked with the blood of the lamb he spared, 

and in them smote none. And thus the blood of 

our dear Lord Jesus contiuues still to live and flow, 

having neither become stagnant nor grown cold. 

It flows and gushes after He is dead, and all who 

are sprinkled with it have the forgiveness of sin 

and are children of eternal life. 

We should mark this well, for this unnatural 
flowing shows that the blood of our dear Lord 
Jesus, as that of the true Paschal Lamb, retained 
its influence and power and virtue even after Christ's 
death ; that it should flow upon, sprinkle and mark 
the faithful standing by the cross ; and that Satan, 
death and sin should let alone all upon whom they 
find this mark, and not have power to hurt them. 
Such is the true nature, power and virtue of the 

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blood of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, and such it 
forever remains in His Church even after His death. 

Besides the blood, however, water also came out 
of Christ's side. This, no doubt, was to serve as an 
indication that the blood of Christ would sprinkle 
only those who were baptized in His name. Our 
Lord Jesus Himself says : "He that believeth and 
is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth 
not shall be damned." Blood and water go to* 
gether. Where Christ's blood is and operates, 
there the water of blessed Baptism also is; but 
where the water does not flow, that is, where there 
is no holy Baptism, there the blood of Christ is 
also wanting, nor does it flow there nor sprinkle 
any one, as it is the case among the Turks and 
Jews and heathen. Evermore must blood and 
water flow on together, and neither be separated 
from the other. 

We must mark this well, for it has great value. 
It iis not of great import for those who died under 
the Old Testament and who did not live to see 
Baptism; for they had their own Baptism and 
were saved by faith in the blessed Seed. Nor is it 
so important on account of infants who die in their 
mother's womb before they can be brought to 
Baptism ; for their parents and the Christian assist- 
ants of those in travail bring to Christ the offering 
of fervent prayer in the hour of danger, and they 
are, without a doubt, accepted graciously. But the 
value of this token of mercy is our own, and we 
should not despise it and not prevent ourselves nor 
our families from accepting it. Where the water 
of this Baptism is, there too must be the blood of 
Christ, for water and blood come from His side 

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together ; and we have already Been the value of 
this blood, viz., it defends us against the destroying 
angel, cleanses us from sin, and causes us to live 
forever. The prophet, in such perfect harmony 
with the Evangelist, ^beautifully indicates this in 
Zeeh. 12, where he says: "I will pour upon the 
house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jeru- 
salem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications : and 
they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, 
and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth 
for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, 
as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." 

It cannot be denied, in the first place, that the 
prophet here speaks of the time of the New Testa- 
ment and of the grace which should come upon us 
through the death of Christ. This grace, moreover, 
consists in God's pouring upon us "the Spirit of 
grace and of supplication," that is, God, through 
His Holy Spirit, brings comfort to our souls, so 
that we trust in His mercy and compassion through 
Christ, and call upon Him in every time of need, 
and seek help from Him, as children seek help from 
their father. 

In the second place, John here throws upon us 
the light of his true apostojic spirit, when he says 
that the piercing, of which the prophet proceeds to 
speak, was done on the occasion of the crucifixion. 
The prophet tells us what shall be the result of this 
piercing, in these words: "They," mark you, they 
who have the Spirit of grace and of supplications, 
— "They shall look upon me whom they have 
pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one 
mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitter- 
ness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his 

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first-born. This mourning and this bitterness mean 
nothing else than the thorough recognition of the 
sine for whose sake Christ suffered on the cross. 
Our looking upon Him who is pierced and our 
mourning for Him and om; being sorrowful, indi- 
cates that He is innocent and that He suffered all 
for us. 

His suffering thus, however, causes us to perceive 
our danger and distress, to desist from carelessly 
participating with the world in sin, to deplore our 
sinful heart and wicked life, to ask God for forgive- 
ness, and to cling to the sufferings of Christ and 
console ourselves with them because He, being 
holy and obedient, did not deserve to die, but still 
took upon Himself and suffered death because He 
loved us so unspeakably. 

It is necessary for us that we should pity, mourn 
and lament in the way stated above, and it is neces- 
sary for Christ to have our sympathy, grief and 
tears, or else He can have no Christian Church. 
The Church alone,' as Zechariah says, looks upon 
the wounded Christ and weeps for Him, but not 
like the women at Jerusalem, for they wept for 
Christ in such a way as to overlook themselves. 
The tears of the believers, of the Christian Church, 
flow because the sins are seen within them, for 
which Christ suffered death. Thus the prophet 
plainly points out to us the fruits of Christ's suffer- 
ings. And soou after, in the 13. chapter, he says : 
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to 
the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jeru- 
salem for sin and for uneleanness." 

Bow closely the prophet unites the spear-thrust 
and the fountain, that is, the blood and the water, 

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or holy Baptism. Now, if we would interpret this 
narrative correctly, we must say : Blood flows from 
the Lord Jesus' side for the washing away and 
forgiveness of my sins. The Lord Himself testifies 
to this when He takes the cup in the Holy Supper. 
But water also comes forth to show that His body 
is an open fountain. But why is it such ? "For 
sin and for uncleanness."- Baptism applies to us 
the blood of our Lord Jesus, for which reason Paul 
expresses this by saying, we are baptized into 
Christ's death, that is, we are baptized that the 
death of Christ might be our own and for our good, 
so that, being delivered from sin and death, we 
might live forever. 

The holy fathers say some beautiful things about 
this. Augustine says 'that John uses the word 
"pierced,"— -"One of the soldiers with a spear pierced 
His side,"— r-to show that the door of life was thus 
thrown open as it were, through which door came 
to us the holy Sacraments of the Church, without 
which Sacraments it is impossible to enter into that 
life which is the real life. He speaks of Sacraments, 
in the plural, because he refers not only to Baptism, 
which is represented by the water, but also to the 
Holy Supper, in which we drink, Christ's blood. 
Chrysostom speaks after the same manner, saying : 
Whereas the sacred Mysteries here take their 
origin, thou must approach the holy Cup as if thou 
wast about to drink from the Lord Jesus' side. 

The Sacramentarians dare not quote this passage 
of Chrysostom, for they boast that the whole of the 
old Church believed as they do, viz., that in the 
Lord's Supper there are only bread and wine, and 
not the body and blood of Christ. Now, how does 

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this boast harmonize with the words of Chrysostom? 
They surely cannot be so blind and frantic as to 
say that wine flowed from Christ's side, and yet 
they say that in the Holy Supper we do not drink 
the blood of Christ, but merely wine. They must 
admit, on the testimony of Chrysostom, who says, 
thou must approach the holy Cup as if thou wast 
about to drink from Christ's side, that the ancient 
Church discerned not only wine, but also blood, in 
the Sacrament of the altar. 

It is this flowing of both water and blood from 
Christ's side, that is said to have given rise to the 
custom of mixing the wine used in the Supper of 
the Lord with water. Cyprian vigorously defends 
this custom as a special ordinance of Christ, and 
the Armenians were condemned as heretics for not 
complying with it. Since Christ, however, did not 
command this to be done, and since the words of 
the institution tell us merely that Christ took the 
cnp and gave it to His disciples, it is not necessary 
to hold this custom as essential. 

We therefore let this matter rest and confine 
ourselves to the doctrine taught us by the holy 
Evangelist, which is, that the blood of our dear 
Lord Jesus Christ shall forever retain its power and 
efficacy after Christ's death, and shall preserve us 
from death and sin, provided we are baptized with 
water as Christ commanded. In Baptism we find 
the blood of Christ in reality, even as blood and 
water flow together here. Where the blood is, 
there is the water also, and where the water is, 
there also is the blood, and it accomplishes its pur- 
pose, which is to wash away our sins and to make 
us perfectly clean, even as Zechariah says when he 

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prophesies concerning the open fountain "for sin 
and for uncleanness." 

We should, therefore, thank God for the ineffable 
mercy and compassion, by which He has led us to 
this fountain, to be baptized in the name of His 
Son, and thus to be cleansed from our sins in the 
blood of Jesus Christ. We may now hope, through 
the Spirit of grace, to receive from God all good 
things, and can now call upon God in every hour 
of need, through the Spirit of supplications. And 
the final blessing of Christ's death shall come upon 
us in the end, when we leave this world of sorrows 
and enter life eternal. May God bestow this upon 
every one of us. Amen. 

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Christ's Body Taken down from the Cross and 
Laid in a Tomb. — The Soldiers Guard the Tomb. 

Matt. 27, 5T-66. When the even was come, there came a rich man 
of Ariniathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple: 
he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate com- 
manded the body *o be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the 
body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new 
tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock : and he rolled a great 
stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And theie was 
Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepul- 
chre. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, 
the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, 
we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After 
three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre 
be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night, 
and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen rom the 
dead : so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said 
unto them, Ye have a watch : go your way, make it as sure as ye 
can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the £tone, 
and setting a watch. 

||he concluding events related in the history of 
the sufferings of our Lord Jesus are His 
removal from the cross, His being laid in a new 
tomb, and the guarding of the tomb by the soldiers. 
And a most appropriate conclusion this is; for it 
shows how the death of our dear Lord Jesus influ- 
ences both His friends and His enemies. His ene- 
mies become uneasy and apprehensive, and they 
perceptibly sink deeper into sin. They, however, 
who honestly love the Lord Jesus, are made confident 
and bold by the death of Christ, notwithstanding 
their weakness and timidity, and now venture to 
do what before they would not have thought of 

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doing. The death of our dear Lord Jesus has just 
the same effect on men in our day, as we shall soon 

The shameful death of Christ upon the cross was 
indeed a most severe offence. Hence His foes 
blaspheme Him to the utmost, while His disciples, 
who had been about Him, did not dare to show 
themselves, and had no other thought than that all 
was over with Him now. His mother, the dear 
Virgin Mary, stood there distressed and full of 
sorrow, and other women with her. Now, although 
she closely kept in her heart the saying of the 
angel, and pondered the prophecies spoken by pious 
and holy people, such as the aged Simeon and 
Anna, a prophetess, when Jesus was yet a child, 
Luke 2, her affliction still overwhelmed her so and 
the offence so wounded her heart, that she could 
not speak. Thus the small assembly that had 
hitherto adhered to Christ and kept Him company 
is perfectly mute. . The condemned malefactor is 
the only one who moves or speaks. Christ's 
enemies carry the day and are full of hope and 
gladness. The clamor made is all their own, the 
rest must hold their peace. 

The weakness and timidity of these pious people 
serves, as said above, to teach us not to be rash and 
not to place too much reliance in ourselves. If 
these almost lose sight of comfort and are swallowed 
up, as it were, by grief and misery, how much more 
shall not we be subject to such weakness when 
called upoji to expose ourselves or to suffer for the 
Gospel's sake. How very necessary, therefore, that 
we should abide in the fear of God and pray for 
the Holy Spirit, that He may enlighten and comfort 

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our hearts, and make us bold enough to dare and 
to bear something for the glory of God and for the 
sake of His Word. 

When the offence was at its very height, and 
when they who had been the best Christians and 
had fearlessly clung to the Lord Jesus began to 
falter and to shrink, and, on account of fear, sorrow 
and gloom, knew not what to do nor whither to go, 
the first to approach was Joseph of Arimathea, a 
city which is also called Arumah, Joshua 15 and 
Judges 9. Joseph was not a plain and common 
citizen, like the Apostles, who were simply common 
people, but he was a member of the council of 
Jerusalem and very rfch. He it was who ventured 
to go to Pilate and beg for the dead body, that he 
might take it down from the cross and bury it. 
And then came also Nicodemus, who, although he 
loved the Lord and His Word, had been so timorous 
that he came to Him only by night. He brought 
about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, so 
that the Lord might not be buried meanly, but with 
honor. It was customary among the Jews, as John 
relates, because they had derived from the Word of 
God the hope of the resurrection and of everlasting 
life, to give the bodies of the deceased a decent 
burial by preparing them with myrrh and aloes, so 
that they would not only be preserved for a long 
time and decay slowly, but also that they would 
have an agreeable odor. 

Mark and Luke specially mention that Joseph 
was a disciple of Christ, that is, he attentively and 
approvingly heard Christ preach, and waited for 
the kingdom of God. We must carefully bear this 
in mind, for from this we -learn what prompted him 

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to hare the boldness to go to Pilate, which was not 
a trifling matter. 

The chief priests and the entire council at Jeru- 
salem had accused the Lord Jesus as a perverter of 
the nation, as a deceiver and blasphemer, and on 
this accusation Pilate based his judgment. Now, 
Joseph, who had taken no part in auy of the pro- 
ceedings against the Lord Jesus and did not want 
to be present at His trial, did a very dangerous 
thing when he sought Christ's body for a decent 
burial. He was thus likely to incur the fury of the 
whole council and of Pilate himself, who had con- 
demned the Lord, and he thus gave them to under- 
stand that in his opinion Christ had been a pious 
and a good Man, who had been wronged in the 
sight of God and the world. 

What moved him so boldly to expose himself? 
Only this, he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 
That is, he still believed that God's kingdom would 
not fail to come, and that Christ, although He had 
so miserably hung and died upon the cross, would 
be raised from the dead by God, and that He would 
accomplish and furnish everything necessary to 
fulfill the prophesies concerning the Messiah and 
his kingdom. If the centurion who stood over 
against Him and saw Christ die when He had cried 
with a lojid voice, learned so much from various 
occurrences, such as the darkness and the earth- 
quake, that he openly confessed : "Truly this Man 
was the Son of God," how much more would no>t 
this Joseph and pious Nicodemus also have had 
such thoughts! Without a doubt, the preaching 
of the prophets, and the words of Christ which 
they had repeatedly heard and which they had 


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now, through the admonition of the Holy Spirit, 
taken to heart for the first time, conveyed to them 
the hope that Christ had not been finally disposed 
of, but that God would establish His kingdom now 
when men least looked for it. Christ had, for 
instance, preached to Nicodemus a powerful sermon 
on this hope, telling him, John 3, that as the serpent 
was lifted up in the wilderness so He also would be 
lifted up on the cross. 

The Holy Spirit, at that time, kindled such 
thoughts in their weak and timid hearts, which 
soon influenced them so that Joseph goes to Pilate 
and asks for the body of Him whom Pilate had 
condemned as a disturber and blasphemer. Nico- 
demus brings myrrh and aloes, with which to give 
the Lord a costly and decent burial, as their testi- 
mony before all the world that they yet hoped that 
God's kingdom still would come, although defied 
by Jerusalem's haughtiest boast that Christ was 
gone and things would soon be changed. 

Such is the fruit of our dear Lord Jesus' death. 
The weakest and most diflident distinguish them- 
selves by boldly and fearlessly confessing Christ 
and by asking for His body, which hangs in the 
greatest disgrace, that they might bury it with the 
greatest honor. They thus testify that they, in 
spite of Jews, chief priests, Pilate, and all foes of 
Christ, regard and glorify Ghrist as the Son of 
God, hope for His kingdom, and find comfort in 
Him even now when He is dead and when every 
body thiuks that He is gone forever. This is ex- 
actly as Mark and Luke say : Joseph "waited for 
the kingdom of God," that is, he hoped that God, 
through this Man, would found a new kingdom on 

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the earth, forgive sins, and impart the Holy Spirit 
and eternal life. For, according to the prophets, 
the great, essential feature of God's kingdom is, 
that Christ, or the Messiah, must establish it. 

Isaiah's prophecy concerning Christ, "A bruised 
reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall 
He not quench/' is here fulfilled in the case of 
Joseph and Nicodemus. Hitherto they were weak 
and timid Christians. They suffered much from 
their fear, which prevented them from making an 
open confession. It is for this reason that John 
speaks of Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, 
as a secret disciple. Christ forgave them this fear, 
and did not cast them away on account of it. Now, 
however, when the danger is greatest and when 
they who usually were such strong and bold Chris- 
tians are overcome by the offence, and fear to let 
themselves be seen, the Holy Spirit, through the 
death of Christ, fans the smoking and nearly 
smothered flax until it makes a blaze as bright as 
the beautiful sun. What Joseph had so far been 
thinking and believing of Christ in secret, he now 
makes known to all, fearing neither the Jews nor 
Pilate. He cares more for Christ, who died in the 
deepest disgrace, than for all the world. Let us 
not regard this as insignificant, or as a mere result 
of Christ's sufferings. These things are written as 
^examples for us all, that we should imitate Joseph 
and Nicodemus. When Christ hangs on the cross, 
that is, when the Gospel is persecuted and poor 
Christians are tortured for its sake, we should 
stand forth, and, not heeding the tyrant's wrath, 
glorify God's Son and His Word, and honor it by 
publicly confessing it until Christ who died shall 

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appear in His glorious resurrection, when faint- 
hearted, timid, and fearful Christians also shall 
receive comfort and return to the confession. 

Such changes shall always occur in the Church. 
Some are offended and fall back, and generally the 
strongest grow weak when affliction comes, while 
the weakest advance and let their joyful confession 
be heard, so that there are always some who 
acknowledge and confess Christ. Whether it is 
unwillingness or inability that keeps the strong 
from doing this, on account of the offence, the very 
weakest, who make no display at all, must do it 
for them, and the former then learn and experience 
the utter nothingness of men when God removes 
His Spirit from them. God, as a rich House-holder, 
wants all kinds of servants in His house ; not only 
such as are strong and full grown, but also such as 
are weak and small. That the strong may not 
despise the rest, they have occasion given them to 
see weakness in themselves ; and that no one may 
judge his fellow, God's Spirit comes upon the weak, 
admonishing, comforting and strengthening them 
in such measure that all must see and praise God's 
power in them. The sufferings of our dear Lord 
Jesus operate thus in His Church forever, in order 
that it may not go to ruin, but stand and grow and 

What, however, is the effect on those who hate 
the Lord Jesus, and who have no peace until they 
have crucified Him ? Just the reverse. The effect 
of Christ's death can be compared to the effect of 
the sun, which is different on different materials. 
Wax is softened and melted by the sun, while mud 
is made hard and dry. Pious hearts are made so 

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cheerful and bold by the sufferings of Christ, that 
they venture to do what they would by no means 
have attempted while Christ yet lived. 

The godless Jews hurried Christ off to death in 
the hope that, when He should have been silenced, 
their cares would forever be gone. But when their 
malice was gratified in seeing that Christ hud died 
upon the cross and was laid into a new tomb, they 
begin to be uneasy, and they -all go to Pilate and 

"Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while 
He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made 
sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by 
night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, 
He is ri**en from the dead : so the last error shall be 
worse than the first." 

If we carefully notice these words we shall find 
what kind of hearts these people had. They re- 
membered Christ's sayings well enough and under- 
stood them too, but what fruit did His sayings 
bring forth in them ? Joseph and Nicodemus>, who, 
no doubt, also remembered these words and com- 
forted themselves with them at the time they were 
spoken, are now made courageous and joyful by 
them, and hope for every blessing. But these 
knaves grow restless, and begin to get scared at the 
dead Man, however natural it may otherwise be 
for men not to fear an enemy after they know him 
to be dead. The wicked Jews enjoy no such com- 
posure, but, as we see, they fear the departed Christ, 
who is lying in the tomb. 

Before Pilate they pretended that His disciples 
might steal Him away and say that He is risen ; 

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but in their hearts the words of the Lord Jesus are 
such a pricking and piercing thorn that they anxi- 
ously ask themselves : What if they were true after 
all ? What if He should be the Messiah and rise 
agr/in from the dead? What would become of us 
then? — This disturbs and disheartens them. But 
they are none the better for these thoughts. They 
do not argue thus : Alas, what have we done ! Let ' 
us yet creep to the cross and not despise the excel- 
lent admonitions and miracles which came to light 
at His death. — No, they do not want to think in 
this} way. They persist in that hatred and enmity 
with which they persecuted the Lord Jesus. They 
perceptibly grow worse and more wicked still. 
They devise all possible means and ways for annihi- 
lating the Lord Jesus and for diminishing His glory. 
This too was written as an example and warning 
for us, that, when we see similar things done by 
the enemies of the Word, we may not become 
frightened. God's inevitable rule is this : the longer 
a man willfully opposes the Word, the deeper he 
must sink into sin, and the longer he seeks rest, 
the greater shall grow his restlessness and fear. It 
was just so too in the case of the blood of the Lord 
Jesus, of which we heard above. The Jews thought 
it a very little thing that they nailed Christ to the 
cross and slew Him. In a deliberate, careless and 
trifling spirit they say : "His blood be on us, and 
on our children." They afterward found what a 
little thing it was, alas, for Jerusalem and the whole 
land to be ruined on account of this. Here the 
case is exactly as it was there. They thought : If 
only this Jesus were out of the way once, we should 
not be troubled any more. Now, in the 2. chapter 

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of Acts it is written that Christ was "delivered by 
the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" 
into the shameful death upon the cross. This only 
increased the fears of the Jews, so that they had 
less peace than before. The words of Christ, 
although they did not believe them, still lay in 
their hearts like a burning fire, or a gnawing worm. 
While they could not believe them, they still could 
not altogether set them aside. So it must always 
be with the foes of the Word. The more they 
seek peace by means of tyranny, the deeper they 
fall, not only into trouble, but also into sin. 

Although their plans may be laid in the greatest 
wisdom, they shall find in the end that they have 
only injured their cause, and aided the Gospel in 
spite of themselves, just as it was with the Jews. 
These demanded guards of Pilate, who should make 
the sepulchre sure until the third day. "Pilate 
said unto them, Ye have a watch : go your way, 
make it as sure as ye can." Matthew says, "They 
went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the 
stone, and setting a watch." This they did to pre- 
vent the disciples from stealing the body of the 
Lord Jesus and from telling the people that Christ 
was risen from the dead. It was very wisely 
schemed, but how did it succeed ? Their very fears 
were realized. When, early on Easter morning, 
Christ had risen from the dead, and the angel 
descended from heaven and came to the sepulchre 
and rolled back the stone from the door, and a 
great earthquake came, the keepers did shake, and 
became as dead men. As soon as they had recov- 
ered from the shock, they gathered themselves up, 
one ran this way, another that, and came to Jeru- 

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salem, where they told the chief priests all the 
things that were done. What, think you, must 
then have been the thoughts of these priests? How 
must their hearts not have quaked and trembled ! 
They could not look on it as a jest, for there stood 
their own witnesses, the soldiers of Pilate, whom 
Pilate himself had sent to guard the tomb. These 
not only told them, but also showed in their entire 
conduct, what had happened. So severe a fright as 
theirs had been, is not so easily concealed. The 
speech betrays it; the countenance shows it; the 
whole body is so affected by it, as to make it known. 
It is, therefore, easily seen that this message must 
have terribly frightened the chief priests and elders. 
Instead, however, of being bettered by this mes- 
sage, they only rushed deeper into sin and made 
their evil conscience worse. They held a council 
on that very Sabbath day, and gave much money 
to the soldiers that they might help them lie, and 
instructed them to say, "His disciples came by 
night, and stole Him away while we slept." In 
this way these poor fellows sought to console and 
help themselves. They believed in their hearts 
that Christ, whom they had delivered to die, 
though innocent, had risen from the dead. Each 
one can imagine for himself how this must have 
troubled them ; for, under such circumstances, their 
hearts could never have been calm. And yet, they 
gave much money to have their lies spread, and to 
have people persuaded to believe what they them- 
selves did not believe. They who thus willfully 
resist the truth, and adorn and comfort themselves 
with known falsehoods, are surely spiteful and 
desperate wretchps, We should learn this, SQ tfotf 

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we may know how to look upon the foes of the 
Word. He who resists the truth, as has been said 
already, has only falsehood left to shield him. 

In the meanwhile our dear Lord Jesus comforts 
His few scattered followers, and shows Himself to 
them, and proves to them by very deed that He is 
not dead, but living, and living as the Conqueror of 
death forever. The lies of those who hate the 
Word only help so much the more to spread the 
tidings and to give them notoriety. Had the Jews 
not guarded the tomb themselves, the falsehood, 
that Christ's body had been stolen, would have 
been more plausible ; but it does not serve its pur- 
pose ; for the guards had been stationed around the 
tomb, and the door of the sepulchre had been care- 
fully sealed. The very fact of their fleeing suffi- 
ciently shows that a higher and greater power than 
that of Pilate and his guards was present. 

So it always is with the enemies of the Gospel, 
They must resort to base and blasphemous lies, 
which, however, do not harm the Word, but further 
it in spite of them. This should move every one to 
learn to know and to flee from lies, and to abide by 
the Word and by the truth. God be praised that 
some in our day have learned this, and that the 
Papists only advanced the cause of the Gospel with 
their lying and clamoring and scribbling! Their 
lies are published in such clumsy shape that men 
are driven to the truth by them. The longer the 
enemies of the truth attack it, the more violent 
they become ; but the suffering of our dear Lord 
Jesus has brought it about that they must thus, 
against their will, further the truth. 

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The Evangelists relate particularly that the sepul- 
chre, into which the Lord Jesus was laid, was in a 
garden, that no one had ever been laid into it, and 
that Joseph had ordered it to be made for himself. 
This is related, not only to make the evidence of 
Christ's resurrection more reliable, but also because 
the body to be buried was not an ordinary one, but 
was different from all that had ever been on earth, 
and therefore deserved a special and new house, or 

The flesh and blood of our dear Lord Jesus was 
like our own, with only this difference, that the 
flesh and blood in which the Son of the eternal 
Father appeared was holy flesh and blood. It was 
proper, therefore, that this flesh and blood should 
rest from its work in an entirely new tomb. The 
sepulchre was not His own, however, but that of 
Joseph. Christ did not become man and die for 
His own, but for our sake ; and even so He lies in 
the tomb for our sake, and His tomb is our tomb. 
He had no tomb of His own, because He did not 
intend to remain in death and the grave ; and so 
shall we through His resurrection be called from 
death and the grave on the judgment day and live 
with Him forever. 

Another thing worthy of notice here is the con- 
duct of Joseph, who had a tomb made for himself 
while he was yet living. This clearly shows that 
he did not leave the last hour out of mind, as the 
children of the world are wont to do, for they 
accommodate themselves to this life as if they were 
to remain here always. The pious look upon their 
whole earthly life as a pilgrimage, for they know 

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that they have no continuing city here, and there- 
fore they desire a better country, that is, an ever- 
lasting and a heavenly. 

A man on a journey may come to a pleasant inn, 
but he does not wish to abide there, for he knows 
that it is not his home. So Christians look upon 
this life as a lodging-place for a night. Kind treat- 
ment they accept with gratitude, but if the inn, as 
is generally the case, is cold and poor and uncom- 
fortable, they find comfort in the thought that 
when this one cheerless night is over all will be 
well. Pious Joseph looked upon life in this way. 
He was a wealthy and honorable citizen of Jeru- 
salem, still his constant thoughts were these: Thou 
canst not remain here always ; thou too must take 
thy leave. Hence in the garden in which he de- 
lighted, he had a tomb prepared for himself, in 
which he expected to rest while waiting with all 
the saints for the glorious resurrection through 

The rich should consider this and also erect such 
monuments on their pleasure-grounds, that they 
might be reminded of the life to come and be drawn 
away from the present life. But we find that every 
one seeks to avoid such thoughts, and aspires only 
after mirth and pleasure, although they are uncer- 
tain and transient and cannot be relied on even for 
one moment. 

Thus, dear Christians, you have heard the whole 
history of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. We 
have now seen God's Son Himself toiling under the 
weight of sin and atoning for sin with His death. 
Hence this history would teach us, first of all, that 
the burden of sin is great and grievous, so that we 

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might be led to live in the fear of God and to be- 
ware of such a burden. 

It also teaches us to find all comfort in Christ's 
sacrifice, so that should even sin and death attack 
us, we might still' have the consolation sure that 
Christ has atoned for our sins, and that God, for 
Christ's sake, will be satisfied with us and not hold 
our sins in remembrance. These are the two chief 
doctrines which the history of the passion teaches 
us and in which we should constantly exercise our- 

This hisl ory, because it Rets before us the example 
of Christ, is profitable besides for patience in suffer- 
ing. It also urges us to love our neighbor, which 
the Lord Himself often urges us to do in words like 
these: "Love one another, as I have loved you." 
But who is able to relate all the benefits of our 
Lord Jesus' sufferings? 

We should therefore heartily thank God for this 
doctrine, and pray that He through His Holy Spirit 
would make it burn brightly in our souls, and make 
us stronger day by day in faith and love and 
patience, until we shall have passed from this life 
of sorrow to the lite eternal. May our merciful 
heavenly Father, through His Holy Spirit, grant as 
this for the sake of Jesus Christ, His dear Son, our 
Lord. Amen. 

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The Power and the Benefit op the Resurrection 
op Christ. 

Matt. 28, 1-10. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn 
toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other 
Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earth- 
quake : for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came 
and rolled back the stone from tbe door, and sat upon it. His counte- 
nance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow : and for 
fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And 
the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye : for I 
know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here : for 
Be is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 
And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead ; 
and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee ; there shall ye see 
Him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the 
sepulchre with fear and great joy ; and did run to bring His disciples 
word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met 
them, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, 
and worshiped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid : go 
tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see 

I he present festival directs our attention to 
that consolatory and joyful article of our 
Creed, in which we confess that Christ on the third 
day arose again from the dead. This requires us, 
first of all ? to know and consider the Easter narra- 
tive, then also to learn why this has happened and 
how to enjoy its benefits. 

The Easter events were these. On the evening 

of Thursday before Easter, when Christ had arisen 

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from the Supper and had gone into the garden, He 
was betrayed by Judas and taken prisoner by the 
Jews. These dragged Him from one high priest 
to the other, until they finally concluded to give 
]lim over into the hands of Pilate, who as governor 
had the power to pronounce judgment. About the 
third hour of the day sentence was passed upon 
Him, when He was led forth to execution and was 
crucified. At the sixth hour, about noon, or an 
hour later, an earthquake occurred and the sun was 
darkened. Towards the ninth hour, which would 
l>e nearly three hours before sunset, Christ died 
upon the cross. This is according to the statement 
of Mark; the other Evangelists do not state so 
definitely the hours in which these events took 

In ,our Creed we confess that Christ arose again 
on the third day, which is far different from saying 
that He arose after three days. The Lord was not 
dead three entire nights and days. On Friday 
evening, about three hours before dark, He died. 
These three hours are called the first day. During 
the whole night and day of the Sabbath He re- 
mained in the grave, and also the following night 
until the next morning. This night counts also a 
day; for the Jews begin their day with the night, 
and count night and day as one whole day. We 
reverse this method of counting and call the day 
find the night one day. In the Church, however, 
1 he old Jewish method of reckoning the festivals 
was retained, so that these always begin with the 
evening of the previous day. 

Very early on Sunday morning, which was the 
third day after the Friday on which Christ was 

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crucified, at the first dawn of day, when the soldiers 
were lying around the tomb, Christ, who had died, 
awoke to a new, eternal life, and arose from the 
dead in such a manner that the guards around the 
grave were unaware of His resurrection. From 
the account which Matthew gives of this event we 
must infer that Christ did not arise during the 
earthquake, which evidently began when the angel 
descended from heaven and rolled away the rock 
from the entrance of the tomb. Christ, however, 
passed out from the closed grave without disturbing 
the seals put upon it, just as on the evening of the 
same day He also came to His disciples through the 
doors which were shut. 

When the earth began to quake and the angel 
appeared, the soldiers were so terrified that they 
lost all consciousness. As soon as they recovered 
they all ran from the grave, some in this, others in 
that direction ; for the coming of the angel was to 
them no occasion of rejoicing, but one of terror and 
distress. There were others, however, who should 
be comforted by the cheerful tidings of the angel. 

"While the soldiers ran from the tomb, Mary 
Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, 
also Peter and John soon after, came to see the 
sepulchre. When the women arrive, the angel 
comforts them, telling them that Christ had arisen 
and that they should see Him in Galilee. He also 
orders them to depart in haste and to aunounce 
these things to the disciples. As the women return 
from the sepulchre the Lord meets Mary Magdalene 
in the guise of the gardener, and appears also to 
Peter, as John relates. In the evening of the same 
day He joins Himselt to the two disciples who are 

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walking to Emmaus, .and revealed Himself unto 
them when He brake the bread and gave it to them. 
After these two disciples had hastily returned to 
Jerusalem, to announce to the others what had 
happened unto them, how they had seen the Lord, 
and when the disciples were amazed at this, some 
however still doubting the truth of such report^ 
Jesus suddenly appears in their midst, the doors 
being closed. John 20. 

These are the incidents of the holy Easter festival 
in reference to the revelation of our Lord and 
Saviour, as we learn from the Evangelists. It 
behooves us to be well acquainted with these facts; 
they refer to that article of our Creed which con- 
fesses that Christ arose again from the dead on the 
third day. 

The mere knowledge of these events, however, is 
not enough; we must also realize their meaning 
and importance* Of these we will now speak a 
little ; for the subject is so fertile and inexhaustible, 
that we could not fully present it though We 
preached about it every day of the year. 

If we desire to comprehend the benefits of the 
resurrection of Christ, we must keep in view two 
distinct pictures. The one is sombre, full of dis- 
tress, misery, and woes ; it is the scene of blood 
presented to us on Good Friday — Christ crucified 
between murderers and dying with excruciating 
pain. This scene we must contemplate with much 
earnestness, as already said, to realize that it all 
happened on account of our sins, yea, that Christ 
as the true High Priest sacrificed Himself for us 
and paid with His death our debts. We ought all 
to know that our sins thus wounded and tormented 

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Christ, and that His sufferings were caused alone 
by our iniquities. Therefore, as often as we re- 
member or view this doleful, bloody scene, we 
ought to bear in mind that we have before us our 
sins and the terrible wrath of God against them, a 
wrath so dire that no creature could endure it, tha,t 
all atonement became impossible except the one 
made by the sacrifice and death of the Son of GocL 
If this awful scene were the only one presented to 
our sight, and if it remained unchanged, it would 
be too terrible and painful. 

But this pieture of sorrow is changed, and in our 
Creed we join closely together these two articles : 
^Christ was crucified, died, was buried and descended 
into hell, and on the third day He rose again from 
the dead." Tea, ere three days had gone by, our 
Lord and Saviour presents to us another picture, 
beautiful, full of life, lovely and cheerful, in order 
that we might have the sure consolation that not 
only our sins were annihilated in the death of 
Christ, but that by His resurrection a new eternal 
righteousness and life was obtained, as St. Paul 
says, Rom. 4: "Christ was delivered for our often ces, 
and was raised again for our justification." And 1 
Cor. 15 : "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; 
ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are 
fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life 
only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men 
most miserable." As in the former scene we saw 
the burden of our sin upon Him and bringing Him 
to the cross, so in this other scene of the resurrec- 
tion we witness no longer sin, pain and sorrow, but 
only righteousness, joy and happiness. It is the 
victory of life over death — a life everlasting, witk. 

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which this temporal existence on earth cannot be 
compared. Of this we have reason to rejoice. 
Merely to view the former scene would be terrible, 
but when we view it in connection with the glad 
event of the resurrection, and when we bear in 
mind why our Lord suffered thus, we will derive 
from such a contemplation much benefit and con- 
solation. It will become apparent to us how inex- 
pressibly great the love of God toward us poor 
sinners was, as He had compassion on our misery, 
even to such an amazing extent that He did not 
spare His beloved and only Child, but gave Him up 
for us, to bear upon the cross and in death the 
burden of our transgressions, which were too heavy 
for us and would have crushed us to the earth. 
This load was taken from us and placed by God 
Himself upon His Son, who, as God from eternity, 
could alone bear the heavy weight of sin. Upon 
Him we now find our burden. Let us leave it there, 
for there is no one else to be found who could 
better relieve us of it. 

The other scene presents to us Christ no longer 
in woe and misery, weighed down with the ponder- 
ous mass of our sins, which God has laid upon Him, 
but beautiful, glorious and rejoicing; for all the sins 
have disappeared from Him. From this we have 
a right to conclude : If our sins, on account of the 
sufferings of Christ, lie no longer upon us, but are 
taken from our shoulders by God Himself and 
placed upon His Son, and if on Easter, after the 
resurrection, they are no more to be seen, where 
then are they? Micah truly says: They are sunk 
into the depth of the sea, and no devil nor any 
body else shall find them again. 


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This article of our faith is glorious and blessed ; 
whoever holds it not is no Christian ; yet all the 
world reviles, slanders and abuses it. The Pope 
and his cardinals generally treat even this narrative 
as a fable to be laughed at; they are full-grown 
Epicureans, who smile with scorn when told of an 
eternal life to come. Our nobility, our burghers 
and our peasants also, believe in a future life, 
rather from custom than from true conviction, else 
they would act otherwise and not busy themselves 
solely with the cares, honors and employments of 
this temporal life, but would rather seek after that 
which is eternal. But we may preach and explain 
as we will, the world regards it all as foolishness. 
Thus we see that this article meets with opposition 
on every side ; even they who possess and believe 
. the Word of God do not take it to heart as earnestly 
as they should. 

If we desire to be true Christians it is necessary 
for us firmly to establish in our hearts through 
faith this article, that Christ, who bore our sins 
upon the cross and died in payment for them, arose 
again from the dead for our justification. The 
more firmly we believe this, the more will our 
hearts rejoice and be comforted. For it is impossi- 
ble not to be glad when we see Christ alive, a pure 
and beautiful being, who before, on account of our 
sins, was wretched and pitiable in death and in the 
grave. We are now convinced that our transgres- 
sions are removed and forever put away. 

In the strength of this faith the early Christians 
composed and sang in Latin and German so charm- 
ingly and truly : „<2tytf fi t ft erjlanben, »on ber SWarter alle, 
tap folfen ttir all* frofc few, Gtyrifl »{H unfer SErojl fein;" 

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that is : Christ from all His sufferings has arisen, 
and will our solace be, hence we all should now 
rejoice. And again : Agnus redemit oves, Christy* 
innocens patri reconciliavit peccaiores. Mors et vita 
duello conflixere mirando, dux vitce mortuus regnat 
vivus;" that is: Christ the innocent Lamb has by 
His sacrifice purchased and redeemed us poor, lost 
sheep, and has through His innocence reconciled 
us to the Father. There was an amazing conflict 
between life and death ; the Lord of life dieth, but 
having arisen now liveth and ruleth. 

Whoever composed these old hymns must cer- 
tainly have had a proper and Christian conception 
of the great event, else he could not have depicted 
so skillfully the scene when death assaulted life, 
and when the devil madly rushed against it. Our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ permitted Himself 
to be slain ; yet death was much mistaken in his 
aim ; for the life in this Person whom he attacked 
was eternal. Death was not aware of this, that an 
eternal and divine power was enclosed in the mortal 
body, and was vanquished in the tilt ; he attacked 
Him who cannot die, though He did die on the 
cross. For as surely as the human nature in Christ 
was dead, His divine nature was incapable of death, 
though it was so concealed in Him during His 
passion and death, as our old teachers represent it, 
that it manifested itself in no wise, and this for the 
very purpose that Christ might die. Death did all 
that he could do ; but since the Lord, according to 
His divine nature, is life itself, He could not remain 
dead, but freed Himself from death and ail his 
auxiliaries, vanquished sin and Satan, and now 
rules in a new life, exempt from all disturbance of 

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Bin, the devil, and death. This is indeed a strange, 
perplexing declaration : Christ, though He died, 
still liveth, and by His dying despoiled death of all 
his power. Reason cannot comprehend this ; it is 
a matter of faith. But to us it is a source of great 
comfort to know and to believe that death has lost 
his reign, and that we owe this, praise be to God, 
to that One whom death attacks and overcomes as 
he does all mortals, but whom he cannot hold ; for, 
in the struggle ensuing, death himself perishes and 
is swallowed up, while Christ, who had died, lives 
and reigns forever. 

St. Paul rejoices over this beautifully when he 
writes, Col. 2 : "And you being dead in your sins 
and the uncircumbision of your flesh, hath He 
quickened together with Him, having forgiven you 
all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of 
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary 
to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His 
cross ; and having spoiled principalities and powers, 
He made a show of them openly, triumphing over 
them in it." 

Two. facts are here presented. He says, in the 
first place, that "Christ has with His own life 
blotted out the handwriting" which was against us 
according to the law. By this the Apostle means 
that we learn from the law what God demands of 
us, what we should do and what we should avoid. 
If now we trespass against the law, either by omit- 
ting to do what we ought to do, or by doing what 
we ought not to do, our conscience will accuse us 
of the wrong done. Thus our conscience becomes, 
as it were, a handwriting against us, in which we 

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testify against ourselves as to our disobedience, and 
hence are subject to the wrath and punishment of 

The law makes this "handwriting," as St. Paul 
says ; for if there were no law there would be no 
transgression. Thus we have against us, at the 
same time our sins and the handwriting, which 
convicts us of them, so that we must plead guilty ; 
even as a merchant would have to acknowledge his 
own signature and seal. Here, the Apostle would 
say, we receive the assistance of Christ our Lord. 
He blots out our handwriting, "nailing it to the 
cross," that is, He makes a hole through it and 
tears it to pieces, so that it can neyer again be used 
against us. To do this Christ was crucified; He 
bore our sins and paid our debts with His own life. 
This is what we have to notice first in the words of 
St. Paul above quoted. 

In the second place he says : "Christ has spoiled 
principalities and powers," that is, He despoiled 
the devil of his power, so that he can no longer 
urge and force Christians to sin, as was his custom 
to do ere they were converted to Christ. Now they 
are enabled, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, to 
resist the wicked one, to defend themselves with 
the Gospel and faith, so as to repel him and thus 
have pea^e. Unto this end Christ sends us His 
Holy Spirit. In a similar manner are the "powers 
spoiled," that is, Christ has conquered death, whose 
power over us before was irresistible. Now the 
Christians have the weapons with which to conquer 
the devil and death ; for these, though they rage 
and chafe, and bring all their might to bear against 


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the Christians, will not succeed, as St. Paul says, 
Rom. 8 : "There is therefore now no condemnation 
to them which are in Christ Jesus." 

As Christ has conquered death, so has He also 
vanquished sin. In Himself He was just and free 
from sin, but inasmuch as He assumed the sins of 
others He became a sinner, as He laments, Psalm 
49: "I said, Lord, be merciful, be merciful unto 
me : heal my soul ; for I have sinned against Thee." 
He prays thus because sin is upon Him. Nor does 
Christ seek to avoid this encounter with sin ; He 
willingly goes into death upon the cross, as if He 
Himself had sinned and merited death, as Isaiah 
says : "He was numbered with the transgressors." 
And yet not He, but we, had sinned; He merely 
came to our rescue, and for our benefit took upon 
Himself our load of transgressions. But His holi- 
ness, though buried beneath the sins of others, is 
so great that sin cannot prevail against it. Thus 
sin and death are thwarted in their intentions ; they 
encounter a too valiant adversary ; death himself 
succumbs and is defeated in this struggle, as St. 
Paul declares. 

The devil also made haste to assert his authority, 
and would fain bring Christ under his power; but 
he encounters a mightier One, whom he cannot 
conquer. For Christ, though much distressed by 
His sufferings and apparently overcome by the 
devil, is nevertheless strong and invincible. The 
devil was ignorant of this and loses all his power>. 
so that Christ can be said to have conquered at the 
time when Satan was sure of victory. Hence these 
three terrible foes, the devil, sin, and death, are 
now defeated and under the feet of Christ. 

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This glorious victory we celebrate to-day. Above 
all we must firmly believe that in Christ there was 
a contest between God and the devil, between 
righteousness and sin, between life and death, be- 
tween that which is good and that which is evil, 
between purity and all manner of corruption, and 
that the triumph was on the side of God. This 
scene we ought to cherish fondly and earnestly, 
and often to contemplate. 

In the former scene of suffering and death we 
witnessed our sin, our sentence of condemnation 
and death resting heavily upon Christ, making 
Him a distressed, pitiable Man; now, on Easter, 
we have the other scene # unalloyed with sin ; no 
curse, no frown, no death is visible ; it is all life, 
mercy, happiness and righteousness in Christ. This 
picture can and should cheer our hearts. We 
should regard it with no other feeling but that 
to-day God brings us also to life with Christ. We 
should firmly believe that as we see no sin nor 
death nor condemnation in Christ, so God will also, 
for Christ's sake, consider us free from these if we 
faithfully rely upon His Son and depend upon His 
resurrection. Such a blessing we derive from faith. 
The day will come, however, when faith shall be 
lost in sight and full fruition. 

Nevertheless, while we are here on earth sin, 
death, disgrace and reproach, and all kinds of 
wants and infirmities remain with us, and we must 
patiently bear them. These all relate, however, 
only to the flesh ; for in our faith we are already 
happy. As Christ arose from the dead, and has .a 
life eternal, free from sin and death, so have we 
these treasures in faith. And as surely as the devil 

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could not prevail against Christ, but had to flee, so 
surely will he also flee from the Christian who be- 
lieves. In the end our body will also be perfected, 
so that neither sin nor death can have power over 
It. For the present we are as weak and sinful as 
other people, only that we strive to shun open and 
gross sins. It is true, Christians may also, now 
and then, be guilty of these, but they remain not in 
them ; they flee them again through earnest repent- 
ance, and obtain through faith forgiveness of all 
their sins. 

Hence it is impossible to judge a Christian aright 
by his external life and conduct. He may not be 
guilty of open, gross sins against conscience, yet he 
is not free from sins and infirmities. Therefore we 
must daily pray : "Forgive us our trespasses." On 
the other hand, it may be that heathens and unbe- 
lievers, in their outward walk and life, appear 
before the world just as good, yea, even better than 
the true children of God. To know and judge a 
Christian correctly, it is necessary to make his faith 
the criterion. As to our flesh and blood we are 
sinners, must die and suffer many evils upon earth, 
perhaps even more than others who have no faith, 
since Christians feel the burden of their sins and 
are troubled by them, while the others live in full 
security, undisturbed by their guilt. 

How then can Christians claim to be holy and 
free from sin ? By believing that in Christ, who 
died for their sins and arose again from the dead, 
they have forgiveness, upon which they rely and 
which they earnestly seek in faith. Christians only 
can do this ; for to believe the forgiveness of sins, 
and to seek it, is the work of the Holy Ghost. 

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"Where the Holy Ghost is wanting, this faith is also 
absent. The enemies of the Gospel, the Pope and 
his crowd, are living examples ; they are great and 
abominable sinners, but they know it not, nor do 
they ask forgiveness in faith. If, now and then, a 
conviction of their sins breaks in upon them, they 
know not what to do, they despair. That Christ 
arose from the dead, without sin, is an unknown 
story to them. A Christian, however, has comfort 
and happiness in Christ in proportion to the faith 
wherewith he contemplates this scene of the resur- 
rection; he views Christ no longer bloody and 
wounded, but in all His beauty and loveliness. For 
as He formerly, on account of our sins, was bleed- 
ing and crucified, so He now has, for our consola- 
tion, an eternal life, full of happiness and joy. Let 
us therefore be glad and sing ; all this has happened 
in our behalf. 

These two facts then belong together : through 
faith in Christ we are pure and holy ; on account 
of the old Adam within us we are impure and sin- 
ners. This impurity we remember when we pray : 
"Our Father . . . forgive us our trespasses/' and are 
comforted in the faith that God, for Christ's sake 
and in the power of His resurrection, hears us and 
pardons us, and gives us eternal life. Thus we are 
holy in Christ through faith, even if we are sinners; 
for it matters not how much is yet lacking in us : 
Christ our Lord and Head arose from the dead; He 
has conquered sin and death, and we, through faith * 
in Him, are also freed from their power. Whoever 
does not believe in this and has not Christ, will lie 
and remain under the dominion of sin, in spite of 
all his good works and religious observances. 

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Let us therefore earnestly view and study this 
joyful, lovely, and blessed Easter scene. It is a 
picture without sin and death. If sin troubles us, 
if our conscience accuses us of evil deeds and faith- 
lessness, let us remember and exclaim: It is true, 
we are sinners, nor can we deny the weakness of 
our faith; but we console ourselves with the 
knowledge that Jesus Christ has taken upon Him- 
self and borne our iniquities ; and by His resurrec- 
tion on this glorious Easter festival, sin and pun- 
ishment threaten us no more. Say, devil, sin and 
death, why did y&u accuse this Man before Pilate 
and nail Him to the cross ? Did you do right in 
this? And sin, and death, and. the devil will then 
confess that a mistake was made — that they wrong- 
fully abused Him. Then we can say to sin, death 
and the devil : Get you gone, molest us not ! 

But perhaps our timid hearts will object and ask: 
How dare we rely on this, — are we not sinners? 
Be sure then to reply: Yes, it is so; we are sinners; 
but that shall not cause us to doubt, since Christ is 
no sinner. He died and arose again from the dead 
for us, and the benefits of this are ours. If this 
does not satisfy you, settle it with Him ; ask Him 
what He did with your sins ; whether they were 
too heavy for Him, so that He could not bear them 
and had to lay them upon you again. He will 
surely be at ease who thus can turn the devil with 
his accusations to Christ, who silenced him before 
so completely. 

This is the true doctrine concerning faith, which 
every one supposes himself to possess and to under- 
stand. There are, however, but few who know it 
aright; for it cannot be taught merely with words; 

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the Holy Ghost must do it. If you have mastered 
this art, you are a Christian ; but if you are imper- 
fect in it, thank God that you belong to the number 
of those who love to hear of it, and do not revile it, 
as the Turks, Jews and Papists do, who imagine 
themselves so upright that they are perfectly justi- 
fied in the sight of God, and need not this Easter 
narrative in their struggle with sin, death and the 
devil. Among them faith perishes entirely. May 
we learn utterly to disregard our own holiness, and 
to keep before our eyes only this Easter scene, 
Christ arisen from the dead, th'e Conqueror over 
death, sin and hell. If we thus look to Christ 
alone, and not to ourselves, just as our eyes do not 
look upon themselves while we are going forward, 
it will be well for us. May our Lord Jesus Christ 
grant us this in mercy. Amen. 

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On the 28. Chapter op St. Matthew. 

y^e have already learned, my beloved, how 
)and why the resurrection of Christ occurred, 
and what benefits we derive from it. Our Gospel 
exhibits to us this still further. 

Above all we notice the important fact that the 
holy angels are the first messengers who bring the 
happy tidings that Christ has arisen and that the 
sepulchre is empty, reminding the women that 
Christ had foretold all this unto them, though they 
could then neither believe it nor understand it. 
Such a message is to us a plain assurance that the 
angels, who are pure and holy spirits, do neither 
despise nar shun us poor sinners, but rather desire 
to bo our friends, since Christ died and arose again 
in our behalf. 

If God had desired that we should neither hear 

of this resurrection nor enjoy it, He would not have 

sent from heaven the blessed angels, His messengers, 

to announce to us this great event. But now He 

sets apart and sends His angels to be unto us the 

first heralds of the resurrection of His Son; and in 

this we find an assurance that Christ, as we have 

seen, arose for us, and also that it is the pleasure of 

God that we should have full faith in this angelic 

message and be comforted thereby. This fact, the 

sending of the angels, is thus of great importance ; 

from it we must conclude: The resurrection of 

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Christ, as well as His passion, took place in our 
behalf,- for our especial benefit. 

Besides, we learn the full meaning of the resur- 
rection of Christ from the language of the angels. 
They come with a twofold message, directed, first, 
to the women, that they should not fear, but rejoice 
that Christ had arisen, and then also containing 
the command not to conceal this, but to go in haste 
to the disciples with the announcement of the great 
event. In either import this message is full of 
cheer. The first words of the angel were : "Fear 
not ye : for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was 
crucified. He is not here : for He is risen as He 
said. Or, in other words: What strange and 
foolish people ye are to be astonished and afraid. 
Christ lives and is arisen from the dead, therefore 
ye ought to rejoice and not be troubled. We can 
interpret the language of the message in no other 
way ; when one is told not to fear, he is encouraged 
and exhorted to bo glad, hoping for the best, while 
he who fears can only anticipate some evil which 
he seeks to avoid. He who stands in dread of the 
hangman, of death, of sin, and of the wrath of God, 
can have no joy, no hope, but only lamentation 
and sorrow, care and sore distress. This shall no 
longer be your condition, the angel says, since 
Christ is risen : be ye comforted with this resurrec- 
tion and strengthened against the devil, sin, death, 
and hell. If these enemies could still injure us, we 
of course would have to fear them. Therefore, the 
importance of this first command : be ye not afraid, 
which comes not only to those women, but to all 
baptized and believing Christians, who know and 
believe that Christ is risen indeed. 

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The other portion of this message is seemingly 
of less import, while really it has the same mean- 
ing as the former. When the angel urges the 
women to go quickly to announce the resurrection 
of Christ to His disciples, we have in this but 
another exhortation that they should rejoice and 
receive blessings from this event. Who, indeed, 
are these disciples? Poor sinners, who deserted 
their Lord in the time of His greatest misery, 
especially Peter, who even denied Him. Just then 
they were congregated together in secret, for fear 
of the Jews ; they had not the least expectation of 
Christ's resurrection, or that He would shortly 
establish His kingdom; and even now, when the 
women come and tell that they had seen the Lord, 
when Simon Peter and those who had gone to 
Emmaus come and tell their story, none of the 
disciples would credit their report, regarding it as 
a fable. Yes, they are even weak and slow to 
believe when the Lord Himself appears in their 
midst, showing them His hands and feet, which He 
suiters them to feel and to touch. 

The great anxiety of the angel to announce the 
resurrection of Christ to the disciples, who were 
nearly drowned in unbelief and tormented with an 
accusing conscience, is a certain indication that the 
Lord is arisen for the consolation of those who are 
weak in faith, or perhaps unbelieving, that they, in 
the end, might seek and find Him their help and 

If we, therefore, discover that we are afflicted 
with similar weaknesses, with sin and unbelief, we 
should not despair, nor suppose that Christ will not 

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accept us, but should remember how, in behalf of 
such poor, weak and miserable sinners, the angels 
came from heaven and quickly dispatched the 
women to tell them that Christ was arisen, that 
thereby they might be comforted and rejoice. For, 
as we have already heard, the resurrection of Christ 
brings consolation, joy and a good conscience, since 
it banishes sin, death and the wrath of God from 
our sight. 

Thus do the angels of heaven preach concerning 
the resurrection, that they might console, with this 
message, the poor, frightened consciences. Surely, 
v/e ought to be fully satisfied with such tidings. 
But in addition to this Christ Himself appears to 
the women and speaks to them as the angels did, 
greets them in the most friendly manner, and tells 
them not to fear. He thus instructs us all to im- 
prove aright the occasion of His resurrection, to 
expel all fear, and to rejoice with our whole heart, 
knowing that we have now no dead and buried 
Christ, who is to be honored at His tomb, as the 
women here proposed to do when they came to 
anoint His lifeless body, which would have been of 
no avail to Him nor of any consolation or benefit 
to themselves, but that we have a living Christ in 
whom we rejoice, and whose victory becomes our 
own through faith. 

What now is there in all the world that could 
frighten a Christian who has Jesus for his Lord ? 
Sin cannot do it, for we know that Christ has paid 
its debt ; nor can it be death, since Christ has con- 
quered him. Hell is rent asunder, and the devil is 
a prisoner and in chains. It matters not if "the 
world, as she is wont to do, persecutes the Chris- 

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tians and torments them in every way ; this is but 
a temporal suffering and can readily be endured if 
we know and believe that Christ arose for us and 
that now we have a life eternal. Let us, therefore, 
well learn and retain in memory the precious 
tidings of the angel : "Fear ye not, but be glad ; 
praise God and give thanks unto Him ; Christ is 
arisen and is no longer in the grave." 

But this is not the only consoling assurance 
which we receive; Christ Himself makes it still 
greater and more glorious. He says : "Go tell my 
brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall 
they see me." Or, as St. John relates the occur- 
rence in the 20. chapter, Christ told Mary : "Go to 
my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my 
Father, and unto your Father, and to my God, and 
to your God." 

How consoling is this term brethren, which 
Christ here applies to His disciples. Among men 
this appellation is common, and means that one 
whom we call brother is a sharer with us of our 
heritage or of friendship. But when Christ, the 
Son of God, calls us brethren, the name becomes 
most excellent, most glorious, and of inexpressible 
value. If He calls us brethren, we thereby become 
also partakers of His heritage; for Christ surely 
does not make use of this name merely for appear- 
ance' sake, as men often do who address each other 
as "dear brother," while at the same time they are 
enemies at heart, and wish each other ill. When 
Christ calls us brethren He really means what the 
word implies, and declares that He will be our 
brother, and will regard us and deal with us in 
every respect as with brethren. 

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How did the Apostles merit such an honor? Did 
they perhaps earn this distinction when they shame- 
fully deserted Him, when they denied Him and lost 
all confidence in His promise that He would liv$ 
again and establish His kingdom ? Such conduct 
would indeed have been a sufficient reason for the 
Lord to regard them as His enemies, and not as 
brethren. But, as already shown, Christ know? 
them to be sinners, and desires poor sinners to 
enjoy the benefits % of His resurrection; else H$ 
would surely not have called His disciples brethren, 
who had by their timid and faithless conduct shown 
themselves so unworthy of this name. We also are 
indeed not worthy of this name, being such poor 
sinners, yet we are permitted to make use of it; 
yea, Christ teaches all Christians, when they pray, 
to say: "Our Father who art in heaven." If wa 
call God iu heaven our Father, then it follows that 
we are Christ's brethren, as He says in this connect 
tion : "I ascend unto my Father, and unto your 
Father, and to my God and to your God." There 
is this distinction however: Christ is in Himself 
the real and eternal Son of God, we on the other 
hand obtain this name through Christ, who died 
for us and arose from the dead that we, through 
faith in Him, might become children of God, Filii 
adoptatiy non nati; (children by adoption, not by 
birth,) as St. Paul describes the relation. 

With the name brethren, which the Lord applies 
to His disciples, He really pronounces to them the 
absolution from all their sins, that they might for- 
get them and be no longer troubled on their 
account. Christ has no sin ; if then the disciples 
are His brethren, they must likewise be free from 

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gin, else Christ would have an advantage over then* 
in the heritage and would not really be our brother ; 
but now He says that we are His brethren, from 
which it follows that we are equal heirs with Him, 

What is the inheritance of Christ? Neither 
money, nor goods, nor great power and temporal 
glory. Experience teaches that many, who are not 
children of God and not the brethren of Christ, 
have such earthly possessions ; hence these cannot 
be the heritage of Christ, which He and His breth- 
ren alone possess. With these temporal gifts it i» 
as with sunshine and rain and other earthly bless* 
ings ; God bestows them equally upon the wicked 
and the just. The true heritage of Christ is that 
of which Paul speaks, 1 Cor. 1 : "But of Him are 
are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and 
redemption : that according as it is written, He 
that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." 

We poor mortals are so blinded by sin that of 
ourselves we know nothing of God, of His being 
and will, nor of sin and righteousness. And even 
though there is yet a small glimmer of the knowl- 
edge of God within us, as St. Paul writes Rom. 1, 
yet it is evident that this is easily quenched and 
that we readily fall into error and idolatry. The 
very first advantage of being an heir with Christ is 
a correct knowledge of God, as He says Matt. 11 : 
"Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the 
Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal 
Him." This then is the greatest and highest wis- 
dom, compared with which all worldly wisdom is 
utter foolishness. All human wisdom, though 

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much honored among men, is only of short dura- 
tion, but this knowledge of God in Christ, and of 
His grace and mercy toward us, is the true, eternal 
wisdom, yea, the life everlasting, as Christ says, 
and enables us not only to defend ourselves against 
men, but also to contend with the devil, and to 
know and to judge him aright. 

The other portion of our heritage is that "Christ 
is made unto us righteousness." We not only live 
in sin, but are conceived and born therein ; through 
Christ, however, this sin is not accounted unto us ; 
God forgives us and pardons us for the sake of His 
Son. This is justification ; God considers us right- 
eous, though we, in ourselves, are poor, miserable 

The third portion of our heritage is that "Christ 
is made unto us sanctification." This He is unto 
us not only by consecrating Himself as a sacrifice 
for us, as John 17. declares, but also by sending us 
His Holy Spirit, who assures our hearts of the 
mercy of God, and comforts and directs and supports 
us in all times of sorrow and tribulation, also work- 
ing in us a new life, resisting sin, and prompting 
to true obedience towards God. 

The fourth portion of our heritage is that "Christ 
is made unto us redemption." Let tribulations, 
sorrows, want, and persecutions come as they will, 
if Christ is only with us and defends us, they are 
harmless ; we shall conquer in the end and have 
redemption from them all, not alone in this world, 
but also in eternity. 

We should indeed earnestly long for such a 
precious, blessed and eternal heritage, and rejoice 


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over it with our whole heart. This hope and 
privilege we have in Christ, since He calls us 
brethren. Alas, that we fritter away this joy; we 
are merrier if some one gives us a hundred dollars 
than when the Son of God makes us heirs of His 
kingdom and everlasting heritage. We would in- 
deed have great reason to be satisfied if Christ but 
permitted us to be His disciples, His servants, His 
pupils, or if He called us His friends; for who 
could wish for a nobler Lord or a better Master. 
But He does much more than this, and elevates us 
to the loftiest position ; He calls us "His brethren." 
Let us, therefore, never forget the great consolation 
contained in this everlasting brotherhood ; and 
may we in all distress, and in the bitter hour of 
death, derive all comfort from it. 

To this the devil objects. He brings it about 
that the Pope and the false, delusive teachers say 
naught of this brotherhood, and make for them- 
selves, in the devil's name, other associations, where 
the good works, so called, of saints, of monks, and 
of priests are distributed as a heritage. But men 
deserve such delusion. If they will not rejoice and 
be comforted in the brotherhood of Christ, they 
fully deserve to go astray into other impious, idol- 
atrous, false and worthless brotherhoods, in which 
they place their confidence and trust. 

Let us, therefore, be grateful for the true doctrine 
and cordially receive it ; let us make good use of 
the resurrection of Christ, coming unto Him as to 
our brother, in whom we have all confidence, fully 
believing that His life is the guarantee of our sal- 
vation and our defence from all wrath to come. If 

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we were firm in this belief no misfortune could 
disturb us ; for amid all suffering which may fall to 
our lot, we know that Christ liveth and that we 
shall live with Him. Why should the fact of our 
earthly sufferings distress us, when we are sure of 
eternal happiness in Christ; or why should we 
entertain enmity toward those who abuse us? We 
ought rather to pity them, since by their hatred 
and envy toward us they clearly show that they are 
not of this brotherhood and can have no part in 
the eternal inheritance. What good will their 
earthly possessions do them, their influence, their 
money, their goods and renown, which they only 
misuse unto sin and everlasting condemnation ? 

If, therefore, we dearly loved this brotherhood in 
Christ, we would not be so eager after temporal 
tilings, but would care more for the eternal heritage 
which is secured to us in this brotherhood. St. 
Paul speaks very pertinently of this when, dwelling 
upon the resurrection of Christ, he says, Colossians 
3. chapter : "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek 
those things which are above, where Christ sitteth 
on the right hand of God. Set your affections on 
things above, not on things on the earth. For ye 
aro dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." 
If we wish in truth to lay claim to this brotherhood 
aid to boast that we are children of God, we must 
also strive to do our Father's will and to be obe- 
dient children. We must, as St. Paul says, "mor- 
tify our members which are upon earth," that is, 
wo must restrain our evil desires and avoid evil 
deeds, and "put on,, as the elect of God, holy and 
bdoved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness 
of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one 

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another, and forgiving one another," &c. "We see, 
then, why sanctification was mentioned as a part 
of the heritage in Christ; it must surely follow, in 
faith and in life, as St. Paul also explains 1 Cor. 5 : 
"For even Christ our passover *is sacrificed for us : 
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, 
neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness ; 
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and 
truth." And again : "Purge out therefore the old 
leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are un- 
leavened." These words may seem strange, but 
they entirely correspond with the words of St. Paul 
which we have considered, that "Christ was made 
unto us righteousness and sanctification." If we 
believe that Christ paid for our sins, we have 
through such faith forgiveness of our sins and are 
justified, or as St. Paul calls it, "freed from the old 
leaven." Nevertheless, our flesh and blood is not 
totally mortified, but full of the old leaven and evil 
lusts; these we ought to purge out and mortify, 
cherishing them no more, but strive after sanctifi- 
cation. To this end Christ gives us His Holy 
Spirit, that we may resist sin and do the will of 

From this you observe, my beloved, what effects 
the resurrection of Christ should have in us, namely, 
the banishing of our fear, the recognition of Christ 
as our Brother, and the joyful acceptance of the 
heritage which He has prepared for us. We ought 
also so to conduct ourselves that we may not, as 
undutiful children, lose this inheritance through 
our disobedience. In this manner will we rightly 
enjoy the glorious results of the resurrection and 
properly celebrate Easter. 

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Where this is not done, where people remain in 
sin and disobedience, or are too timid to lay hold 
upon this consolation in their woes and tribulations, 
there, surely this resurrection and glorious heritage 
will be of no avail. * 

May God grant us His Holy Spirit, through 
Christ Jesus, that our hearts may be cheered by 
this resurrection, that our faith and confidence and 
hope therein may increase from day to day, and 
that through it we may finally be saved. Amen* 

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Luke 24, 36-47. And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in 
the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But 
they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they bad seen a 
spirit. And Be saith unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do 
though te arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet, that 
it is I myself: handle me, and sie; for a spirit hath not flesh and 
bones, as ye see me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed 
them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for 
joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And 
they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And 
He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, These 
are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that 
all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, 
and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened 
He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, 
and saith unto them, Thus ii is written, and thus it behooved Christ 
to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day : and that repent- 
ance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all 
nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

Ihe incidents of our text also occurred on 
Easter, when the two disciples had returned 
from Emmaus to Jerusalem, and had narrated to 
the others what had happened to them and told 
them that they had seen the Lord. They are in 
fact the same which John relates, and which form 
the text for next Sunday, making no mention, how- 
ever, of Thomas and his experience, which occurred 
eight days later and is presented to our considera- 
tion by the lesson of the following Sunday. Our 
text, which contains much important matter, might 
be considered under various heads, but inasmuch as 
we have already dwelt upon the resurrection itself, 
we will now confine our discourse to two main 

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points presented by our lesson. First we notice 
the fact that the disciples, when Christ, the doors 
being locked, unexpectedly appeared before them, 
were terrified and supposed they saw a spirit. 

From this we learn that the appearance of spirits 
is nothing new. The Lord Himself does not deny 
the possibility of such manifestations, but rather 
confirms the belief in them when He points out the 
difference between Himself and spirits. He says : 
"Why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts arise 
in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet; 
for a spirit hath not flesh and bones." 

From this we learn the important and salutary 
lesson that we are very much mistaken, when we 
think ourselves alone and the devil hundreds of 
miles removed from us. He is constantly about us, 
and sometimes assumes strange masks. I myself 
have seen him in the form of a pig, of a bundle of 
burning straw, and in similar disguises. One must 
know this, lest we become superstitious and think 
that the spirits which appear are the souls of dead 
men, as it has been formerly customary to believe. 
This superstitious belief has been of great advantage 
to the popish mass and has given it greater im- 
portance. Whenever the devil appeared, or made 
himself heard, people thought that the spirits of 
the dead were manifesting themselves, as is clearly 
seen from the writings of popish authors, and even 
from those of Gregory and other ancient teachers, 
who regarded such appearances not as spooks of 
the devil, but as manifestations of the spirits of the 
dead, even of those who died in faith. We all 
know, alas, but too well what deplorable, horrible 
errors and superstitions resulted from this fancy. 

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Purgatory was supported by this belief, and out 
of the dream of purgatory grew the doctrine con- 
cerning works of supererogation and their benefits 
to the dead. It is self-evident that the death and 
resurrection of Christ was lost out of sight by such 
take doctrines, and that the works of men were 
glorified instead. Another result was the abomina- 
tion of the mass, whereby the sacrifice of Christ was 
set aside and the Lord's Supper shockingly abused ; 
for it was regarded as instituted for the dead and 
not for the living. Such misery resulted from the 
superstitious belief that the souls of the departed 
had re-appeared ; when it really was the devil who 
exhibited himself under various disguises in various 
places. The people were duped by this deviltry, 
else they would have had no confidence in the 
manifestations of spirits ; for the devil is known to 
be a murderer and a liar, so that Christ would not 
accept his testimony even when he spoke the truth, 
as we see from the first chapter of St. Mark aud 
from other similar passages. 

We assert, therefore, the great importance of 
knowing and believing that the devil really does 
appear among us in various shapes and forms. 
Likewise do the holy angels, so that we are con- 
stantly surrounded by them and by devils. The 
latter are ever on the alert to injure, to seduce and 
to destroy us, while the good angels hover around 
us, if we are pious and walk in the fear of God, to 
protect us from evil and from harm. This we 
should know, that we may learn to fear God, to 
pray more fervently day by day, and to trust in 
Him alone, and implore His protection against the 
evil spirits, so that they may not harm us with 

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pestilence, nor endanger us with poisons, nor over- 
whelm us with other afflictions. 

The surest and best method of escaping these 
attacks is to live in the fear of God, to be earnest 
in prayer, and to love His holy Word. This is the 
true charm with which we can make ourselves 
secure from the attacks of the enemy. In that 
heart, in which the Word of God has its home, the 
devil cannot abide ; he will trot off speedily. Thus 
the devil cannot make his home in the Church if 
Christ is there, and Christ has said : "Where two 
or three are gathered together in my name, there 
will I be in the midst of them ;" hence we say that 
the devil must vanish when Christ comes. It 
behooves us, therefore, to hear God's Word will- 
ingly, to meditate upon it and to converse about it 
often and gladly. But where falsehoods, slanders 
and other sins prevail and the conscience is violated, 
there Christ and His angels depart. Let no one 
then gainsay the fact that the devil appears, that 
he terrifies and seduces men, and that he injures 
them secretly wherever he can. Let us rather learn 
to resist this demon with the holy cross, not with 
that alone which we make with the motions of the 
hand, but with that which we have in our heart by 
faith, which finds all consolation in the Word of 
God, and let earnest prayer not be forgotten. Then 
it matters not how much the devil clatters and 
spooks around ; we are safe from him. Tell him 
boldly to his face : Thou art a devil and wilt remain 
such, but I am a Christian and have a Protector 
mightier than thou ; therefore avaunt and disturb 
me not. 

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The devil lias more than once attempted to 
frighten me in my own house by making a clatter, 
but he scared me not in the least ; for I stood upon 
my authority and told him : See here, I know that 
God placed me in this house and made me master 
over it; now if thou hast a better claim to the 
mastery here than I, then stay ; but thou hast no 
business here ; I tell thee thou belongest somewhere 
else, even to the infernal abyss of hell. Then I 
went to sleep again, and left him to his rage; for I 
was assured he could do me no harm. This is the 
first consideration presented to us by our text, 
which we could not pass by in silence; for the 
disciples and the Lord Himself speak of spirits that 
are evil, and which appear for no other purpose 
than to frighten people and to make them timid. 

We come now to the other part of our medita- 
tion, in which we shall consider the words of Christ: 
"Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to 
suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day : and 
that repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in His name among all nations, beginning 
at Jerusalem." 

He says : This preaching, that Christ must die 
and rise again from the dead, shall begin at Jerusa- 
lem, and thence shall spread throughout the whole 
world, so that in His name, and in that alone, 
repentance and remission of sins shall be proclaimed. 
No repentance nor any remission of sins, if depend- 
ent upon any other name, even if it be that of St. 
Peter or of St. Paul, and least of all if it be my own 
name, is of any account. Why then should I be- 
come a monk, with the intention of doing good 
works whereby I might merit forgiveness of sins ? 


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Our text tells us that Christ, by His death and 
resurrection, obtained for us forgiveness of sins, 
which "is preached in His name," and that he who 
desires to be benefited thereby must believe that 
Christ died for him and arose again from the dead. 
This is the preaching to which the text exhorts. 

To prevent the impression as if this preaching 
could be fully understood and comprehended at 
once in all its bearings, the Evangelist purposely 
adds these words : "Then opened He," namely the 
Lord Himself, "their understanding, that they 
might understand the Scriptures." This is neces- 
sary, or people will go to Church and. return with 
as little knowledge of what they heard as cows 
would have if they had been there. If Christ does 
not first open the understanding all is dark ; it can- 
not be otherwise. 

But what does the Lord mean when He speaks 
at the same time of "repentance and remission of 
sins" as intimately connected, and when He states 
that "this preaching shall begin at Jerusalem?" 
Is this not a perverse order, to begin the preaching 
of repentance and remission of sins at Jerusalem, 
where the greatest saints are dwelling, the Levites, 
the high priests and the people of God ? Every- 
body is under the impression that this city has no 
need whatever of the preaching of repentance and 
of the remission of sins. 

These words of the Lord, however, have this 
meaning: Ye Levites and Jews shall be the first to 
whom repentance and remission of sins shall be 
preached, that you may amend your evil ways; if 
you heed not this preaching, you will nevermore 
obtain remission of your sins. To preach repent- 

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ance is nothing else than to announce to the people 
that they are miserable sinners and liable to damna- 
tion, and that it is impossible for them to be saved 
without conversion and complete change. 

It is the Lord's will that such preaching shall be 
heard throughout the whole world, so that no one 
might plead ignorance in this, but that all should 
know and confess that they are sinners. What 
other advantage could accrue from the preaching 
of repentance ? Yea, thus it must be, in accordance 
with the Lord's will, that this preaching must begin 
at Jerusalem, among the chosen people of God, at 
the holiest place. The Pharisees shall hear the 
summons to repentance, for they are worse in the 
sight of God than harlots and reprobates, since 
they regard themselves good and holy, and not in 
need of the preaching which calls to repentance. 

In short, Christ, with the words under considera- 
tion, condemns the entire world and calls all men 
sinners, and desires of us, if we wish to be saved at 
all, to fall upon our knees and to exclaim with up- 
lifted hands : Lord, I am a sinner ; I need conver- 
sion, that I may become better ; but inasmuch as I 
cannot bring this about by myself, be Thou my 
help, O Lord, and let Thy mercy be upon me. 

If we are thus minded, and have no confidence at 
all in our own exertions and life, then we will 
realize what is meant by that other expression: 
remission of sins. The Lord commands that this 
also shall be preached. First, and chiefly, we must 
know that we are sinners, and then cry for mercy. 
If one wishes to become a Christian, he must first 
of all take this step and confess himself a sinner, 
having learned to know what sin is ; then the par- 

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don of sin, with all its cheer and consolation, can 
be appropriated. These words of Christ convey, 
therefore, these two facts to us: that the whole 
world is steeped in sin, and that it can only be 
made just and holy through Himself, the Saviour 
of all. 

Man's thoughts are different. One supposes 
himself pleasing unto God because he chastens his 
body much and prays often ; another, because he 
has bestowed many alms, and so on. But the Gos- 
pel calls all men sinners and tells them: Repent. 
This causes contradiction; the Pope refuses to 
acknowledge himself a sinner, as also does the 
monk in his cloister. In fact, we all are averse to 
this confession and strive to palm ourselves off as 
unblamable; but in this endeavor we can never 

What then shall we do ? Shall we despair be- 
cause we are sinners and because God is an enemy 
to sin ? No, for Christ gave the command to preach 
not only repentance, but also the remission of sins, 
which should be unto all those who believe in His 
name. We remember this and are comforted. We 
say : O Lord, we are great offenders ; but spare us 
for Thy mercy's sake, for we have no merits of our 
own. If we do this, relief is at hand ; for we have 
the promise of God that the sins of all who accept 
the Gospel shkll be forgiven. This is surely the 
meaning of Christ's command to preach remission 
of sins in His name. Without Christ there is no 

Thus it is evident that the sale of indulgences 
by the Pope is a lie and a cheat. He sells them in 
the name and in behalf of the merits of departed 

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saints, while Christ positively declares: "In my 
name shall remission be preached ;" no one else but 
I died for you, or rose again from the dead that 
you might live. 

This preaching is called heresy by our enemies, 
as you are aware, and we are basely charged with 
forbidding good works. Well, let them slander. 
We did not first use this language, nor did we in- 
vent the doctrine that in the name of Jesus repent- 
ance shall be preached unto all nations. But, I 
ask, if our own good works could suffice, why yet 
preach repentance? The righteous need no such 
preaching, but the sinners do. The command of 
Christ, however, is a general one ; He says : Preach 
repentance to the whole world; from which it 
follows that all are sinners, and that sin alone, and 
no good works, are to be found throughout the 
earth. Hence we see the necessity of preaching 
repentance and remission of sins. 

* But the perverse adversaries will not heed this, 
and continue their slander that we forbid good 
works. May God therefore enlighten our under- 
standing and enable us earnestly to say : O Lord, 
have mercy upon us poor wretched sinners; grant 
that we may comfort ourselves with Thy promise 
of remission of sins, which Thou hast ordered to be 
preached in Thy name. Whoever makes such a 
confession gives God the praise by recognizing His 
Word as truth, which accuses us all of sin and de- 
mands repentance. But he also gives God the 
praise by believing the forgiveness of sins in the 
name of Jesus. The impenitent and unbelieving, 
on the contrary, blaspheme God, and in the end 
receive their punishment. 

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Thus we can become just before God. Then we 
should proclaim th6 Gospel ako unto others, do 
good to them and help them, be obedient, and 
attend to the duties of our calling. In this wise 
we can become true saints, holy before God through 
faith, and then also unblamable before men in our 
life. The person must first be made pure and 
acceptable through faith, else what would all good 
works avail ? Surely it would be absurd to call any 
deed good when the source from which it comes is 
bad aud impure. The heart discredits the truth- 
fulness of God, who orders the preaching of repent- 
ance throughout the whole world, and since it 
refuses to acknowledge itself corrupted by sin, it 
cannot accept the forgiveness which is preached, 
and is not benefited thereby. 

They who confess themselves sinners, and believe 
that God for Christ's sake pardons them, are true 
Christians, in whom there is repentance and remis- 
sion of sins. Because we teach thus, we are termed 
heretics and called accursed. But that matters 
naught. We rejoice that by the mercy of God we 
have the true doctrine, that we know ourselves to 
be sinners and can appropriate the consolation of 
God's Word. In this faith we are enabled to do 
truly good works, which are performed in repent- 
ance and faith. Where this doctrine and preaching 
has a home, there Christ is; no devil can rule 
there, nor need his manifestations be feared. 
Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is a happy 
peaceful heart, prepared to do the Lord's will. 

The others who are void of faith can do no good 
work ; and whatever they do, though it be in itself 
not bad, they do reluctantly and without pleasure. 

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Such works are cheerless and disagreeable, and 
God cannot be pleased with them. The heart be- 
comes cheerful only through faith in Christ, which 
accepts the truth that we are sinners, but also 
embraces the promise of the gracious remission of 

A Christian is therefore both a sinner and a 
saint; he is evil and is good. In ourselves we are 
sinners, but Christ gives us another name when He 
mercifully forgives our sins for His sake. Hence 
both appellations are true. Sins are yet in us, for 
the old Adam still lives within ; and again they are 
not present, because God blots them out for Christ's 
sake. They are present before my eyes; I see them 
an J I feel them ; but there stands Christ and tells 
me to repent, to confess myself just what I am, a 
sinner, and declares unto me forgiveness of my sins 
through faith in His name. 

Repentance alone, though necessary, is not suffi- 
cient ; faith in the remission of sins through Christ 
must also be added. Where there is such faith, 
God no longer sees sin ; for then we appear before 
Him not in our own righteousness, but in that of 
Christ. He adorns us with grace and righteousness 
even if, in our own eyes, we are miserable sinners, 
full of weakness and unbelief. But this conviction 
of our own wickedness shall not drive us to despair, 
else we could not heed the preaching of repentance. 
No, we come and say : Lord, we are damnable 
sinners, but Thou declarest that we shall not remain 
such, and hast commanded remission of sins to be 
preached at all times in Thy name. 

This is the faith that makes Christians. If you 
kill yourself by fasting, if you beggar yourself by 

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giving alms, you will gain nothing by it; such 
conduct will make no Christian of you, nor cau you 
thus earn heaven or appease God. Here we read : 
"In my name should repentance and remission of 
sins be preached." Christ says : Tell the people of 
their sins, and of God's wrath on that account; but 
tell them also of this remission for their consolation. 
Christ Jesus alone is our robe of righteousness and 
our salvation ; if we are clothed therein, God is our 
Father, a merciful God, who condemns us not as 
sinners, but adjudges us righteous, holy and accept- 
able, and gives us eternal life. 

Tou well know that this glorious doctrine was 
not taught before the Gospel of salvation was again 
preached. The words of the text, that forgiveness 
of sins in the name of Christ should be preached, 
indeed remained, but they were not impressed upon 
the people's minds; doctrine and practice were 
totally opposed to them, so that he who desired to 
be saved was taught to do good works, so called, 
and to pay his debt of sins by his own endeavors. 
What else was this but to remove sin in man's own 
name ? But such procedure is wrong and useless. 
The name of Christ, and that alone, brings remis- 
sion, and therefore this name must be preached. 
Not fasting nor giving of alms, not becoming 
monks or nuns, neither the Pope, not even Peter 
and Paul, nor the Virgin Mary, can aid us at all in 
this. Only in the name of Christ remission of sin 
is to be preached. 

From this we learn how pitiable the Papists are, 
and how miserably they are swindled. When they 
confess their sins and fain would be very pious, 

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believing themselves absolved from all their sins, 
they have no remission nor absolution in the name 
of Jesus, as it should be> but only in the name of 
the holy Virgin, of the Apostles, or in the merits 
of the other saints. This is a sham absolution, an 
abomination to be shunned as the very devil him- 
self. And yet, to increase this horror, people are 
forced to this practice, as if it were the most glori- 
ous service of God. The command of Christ is not 
thus ; He says in our text, remission of sins shall 
be preached in the name of Jesus, and in none # 
other. Not one of the saints died for our sins; 
what need then have we of their name to obtain 
remission of sins ? 

This doctrine we learn from the Gospel before us, 
that they who confess their sins and know that 
they are sinners shall obtain forgiveness in the 
name of Christ. This method of getting rid of our 
guilt seems very easy. To accomplish this it is not 
necessary to carry stones, to build churches, to read 
mass, but only to hear God's Word, and to praise 
Him when He has repentance preached unto us, 
confessing ourselves the guilty ones and then trust- 
ing implicitly in His mercy, relying fully upon the 
name of Jesus, in whom remission is preached. 
Where such faith exists, sin can do no harm; Jesus 
is there with the power of His name, and that 
makes just. We are therefore secure, not because 
we have done no wrong, but because for Christ's 
sake we are accounted of God holy and justified. 
This we also confess in our Creed : I believe the 
forgiveness of sins. For such mercy we should be 
thankful to God, who has given us the Gospel and 
brought us into the kingdom of Christ ; for this is 

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a kingdom of grace, in which all sins are remitted 
in the name of Jesus. 

This doctrine of the remission of sins must be 
clearly understood and kept apart from that which 
concerns good works. We do not say that they 
who desire salvation shall not do good works ; for 
this obligation has been imposed long ago in the 
law ; but we do urge that such good works have 
nothing at all to do with the forgiveness of sins. 
Peter and Paul, and all the saints, may have been 
^ ever so upright in their daily walk, but this availed 
them nothing before God ; they would not thereby 
have been justified ; only their faith in Christ, that 
through His death they had forgiveness of sins and 
eternal life, availed them. We must do good works ; 
but notwithstanding this we must believe the for- 
giveness of sins only in the name of Christ. Grant 
us this consummation, Jesus, our Lord and our 
Saviour. Amen. 

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John 20, 19-31. Then the same day at evening, being the first day 
of the Week, when *he doors were shut where the disciples were 
assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, 
and said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, 
He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disci- 
ples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, 
Peace be unto you : as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto 
them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost : whosesoever sins ye remit, they 
are remitted unto them ; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are 
retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not 
with them when Jesus came. Tiie other disciples therefore said unto 
him, We have seen the Lord. ,jBut he said unto them, Except I shall 
see in His hands the print of /the nails, and put my finger into the 
print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 
And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas 
with them : then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the 
midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, 
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands ; and reach hither thy 
hand^and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. 
And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. 
Jesus saith unto Him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast 
believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, 
which are not written in this book : but these are written, that ye 
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that 
believing ye might have life through His name. 

(■ffilftur text recounts the same incident of which 
§§%$ mention is made in the previous sermon for 
Easter. It occurred after the return of the two 
disciples from Emmaus to Jerusalem, where they 
told their brethren that they had seen the Lord. 
In our text, however, we have a fuller account of 
this occurrence ; for St. John differs in his descrip- 
tions from the other Evangelists in this, that he 

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uot only narrates the incidents, but also adds the 
sayings, the words of Christ, which are indeed of 
chief importance. According to this his custom, he 
recounts in our text the words not found in the 
other Evangelists, which were spoken by the Lord 
after He had greeted His disciples and had shown 
them His hands and feet : "As my Father hath sent 
me, even so send I you." 

These are most precious words, by which Christ 
invests the disciples with the office of preaching, 
making arrangements for the application of the 
glorious results of His sufterings and resurrection. 
For if this great occurrence had not been preached 
in its various bearings, if it had remained a mere 
historical event, it would have been of no avail for 
us. This we learn from the condition of the 
Papists. They are acquainted with the event and 
its record as well as we, but they do not preach it 
as Christ directs ; hence their mere historical knowl- 
edge of it benefits them no more than if it were the 
story of Dietrich of Bern, which one hears and 
learns; they have simply the recollection of the 
occurrence. It is therefore absolutely necessary to 
make a proper use of the narrative of Christ's 
sufterings and resurrection. 

How to do this we learn from the words of the 
Lord Himself when He says: "As my Father hath 
sent me, even so send I you." And how the Father 
sent Christ was described long ago by the prophet 
Isaiah in the 61. chapter, where it reads: "The 
Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the 
Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto 
the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken- 
hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the 

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opening of the prison to them that are bound ; to 
proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." With 
such instructions Christ was sent, and now declares 
that in no other way will He send His disciples. 
He entrusts to them the office of preaching, that it 
may remain in force even to the end of time, and 
He orders them to preach just as He preached while 
in the flesh. This command then, and this mission 
to preach, has reference only to the doctrine to be 
taught; the disciples are instructed to preach no 
other doctrine than that which Christ Himself pro- 

The character of this doctrine is clearly and 
beautifully expressed by the prophet Isaiah when 
he describes Christ as anointed, and sent to cheer 
the downcast and the timid, to comfort the broken- 
hearted. All other preaching is erroneous and 
surely not as Christ enjoined ; it is Mosaic in its 
nature. Moses preached in such a style that the 
fearful, timorous hearts were yet more affrighted 
and became still more disconsolate ; the preaching 
of Christ, however, aims to comfort the distressed. 
His teaching was new, as the works which He 
accomplished, the like of which the world had never 
witnessed before, were new, namely, that the Son 
of God suffered, died and arose again. Christ here 
fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah ; for thus we read in 
the words of our text : "He breathed on them, and 
saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose- 
soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them ; 
and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained!" 

Here we have the right definition of the powers 
of the spiritual kingdom, which is as far removed 
from the nature of the governments of this world 

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as the heavens are from the earth. They who 
execute the authority of this spiritual kingdom are 
true kings, real potentates and mighty rulers. But 
their government is not absolute ; we* learn from 
our text how it is limited. It extends, indeed, over 
the entire world, as the words clearly indicate, yet 
it is confined in its operations to the sins of men. 
It has nothing to do with money or lands, with 
food or raiment, nor with anything pertaining to 
the outward life of man. Such affairs are regulated 
by emperors, kings, princes and other officers 
chosen for this purpose, whose duty it is to admin- 
ister the secular governments, that men may live 
in prosperity and peace. The spiritual government 
concerns itself with the spiritual necessities of men, 
with their sins ; where these are found, there this 
authority exercises its sway, and nowhere else. 

It is a great mistake to mix these duties and 
powers, as the Pope and his bishops have done, 
who abused their spiritual authority and became 
lords of this world, even to such an extent that 
emperors and kings had to bow before them. 
Christ did not invest His disciples with any such 
authority ; He did not ordain them to the adminis- 
tration of temporal governments, but to the office 
of preaching, thereby giving them authority over 
sin. The functions of the office of the ministry are 
therefore these: To preach the Gospel of Christ 
and to forgive sins to the penitent, desponding 
souls, but, on the other hand, to retain them to the 
impenitent and unbelieving. 

This authority over sin has been miserably abused 
by the Pope ; for by it he regarded himself priv- 
ileged to make laws and regulations as he pleased, 

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not only for the Church, but also for the whole 
world, and thus did not at all regard the proper 
duties pertaining to the Office of the Keys. In 
this he greatly erred. It is not my duty as a 
preacher of the Gospel, as a messenger of Christ, to 
instruct you in your business affairs, in agriculture, 
in matrimony, or other similar transactions ; God 
gave you your reason to guide you in all such 
matters. And if you should be in doubt as to this 
or that in regard to these things, you can go and 
ask advice of jurists, and other people, who are 
well versed in such affairs. My duty and office 
relates to your spiritual condition; I must tell you 
that you are a sinner, and that you would be eter- 
nally damned as such if Christ had not paid your 
debt and become your Saviour. 

To understand this duty well it is simply neces- 
sary to know what sin is. "Sin" is not gold nor 
other similar possessions, not worldly authority, 
not our daily labor, not bread nor wine, nor any- 
thing of this kind, but it is a heavy burden which 
oppresses the heart and conscience before God, so 
that we are afraid of His wrath and await eternal 
damnation. We speak here of real sins, which God 
adjudges as such and which bring death, and not of 
those imaginary sins which the Pope and his jug- 
glers, the bishops, have invented, such as the omis- 
sion of fasting on certain days, the eating of meat, 
or the careless handling of certain monastic trap- 
pings. These are papistic sins, invented and 
ordained by priestcraft, but before God they are 
not sins, nor do they bring condemnation, for He 
gave no commandments relating to these matters. 
When we speak of sins in this connection we mean 

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real sins, actual transgressions of the law both 
human and divine, sins not designated as such by 
men, but by the Word of God, sins in which we 
are born and in which we live. With sins of this 
kind the apostles are here enjoined by Christ Him- 
self to busy themselves, either to forgive them or to 
retain them by virtue of their office ; but in other 
matters, temporal in their nature, they should not 
interfere. Every apostle, and every minister of the 
Gospel, is authorized to proclaim unto the sinners 
who will not repent and are obstinately wicked, 
that they are in the clutches of the devil and will 
be surely thrust into the jaws of hell ; on the other 
hand, it is equally a part of their office to assure 
the penitent and believers that, because of the 
sufferings and resurrection of Christ, heaven and 
eternal life will be theirs. This authority and 
power rests in the Word of God, not in the person 
of those who preach it; hence their decision is 
valid, is acknowledged as such even by the devil, 
and will surely free from sin those who accept it in 
true faith. 

This privilege and authority which the apostles 
have,' yea, which every Christian has, to pronounce 
judgment respecting sin, is of such vast importance 
that all the powers of emperors and kings are as 
nothing compared with it. For this declaration is 
as powerful and sure as if Christ Himself proclaimed 
it ; for thus He says : "As my Father hath sent 
me, even so send I you." 

Thus we see how the power of the Church and 
her authority are only to be employed in relation 
to sin ; they meddle not with matters of State, with 

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temporal concerns, but address themselves to the 
fears and burdens of the conscience, which accuses 
and convicts before God. Again we learn from 
this, how carefully we should guard against treat- 
ing certain things as sinful in which there is no 
transgression ; for if we do, we are, as I have said 
above, guilty of inventing sins which are spurious, 
and the result would be that, in order to escape 
their imagined horrors, we would seek refuge in a 
righteousness which is also a sham and spurious. 
Let us therefore understand this well : sin is the 
transgression of the law of God and accuses might- 
ily. A failure to comply with popish whims and 
regulations is not sin ; God does not regard it as 

But, alas, it is only too evident how many people 
live in actual, great and open sins, in avarice, 
adultery, theft, usury, anger, envy, drunkenness, 
blasphemy, and the like. They are hardened in 
their sins and perfectly indifferent. There is no 
lack of sins, but there is a lack of their acknowl- 
edgement and of repentance. Here then there can 
be no application of the authority to release ; here 
it is necessary to bind. This power is mentioned 
in the words: "And whosesoever sins ye retain, 
they are retained." 

It behooves us therefore to make a correct dis- 
tinction in regard to sin* Some sins are such both 
in the sight of God and in our own sight. Some 
sins, however, are such only before God, not in our 
eyes, that is, we are ignorant of them, and therefore 
do not concern ourselves about their remission. 

David says : Tibi peccavL "Lord I have sinned 


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before Thee and have done evil in Thy sight." In 
these words.he confesses his wrong and the convic- 
tion that it is displeasing in the sight of God. He 
«ays in fact : I see and feel my sin, not only in 
thought, but in my experience of its dreadful 
power; it is a terrible burden, the very devil him- 
self, who comes to accuse me before God and to 
drag me away into hell and everlasting death. St* 
Paul, Rom. 7, Bpeaks thus of this condition : "For 
without the law sin wag dead, for i was alive with* 
out the law once," that is, sin is ever within us, but 
without the coming of the law it does not disturb 
us, we are at ease as to the consequences. Hence 
we continue upon the path of evil, committing sin 
upon sin, without any fear of God or thought of 

But as soon as the thunder of the law penetrates 
the heart, the conscience is aroused and becomes 
aware of sin; then we realize what a horrible, 
destructive power sin is, how it robs us of God and 
hands us over to the devil and consigns us to hell. 
Hence the apostle continues : "But when the com- 
mandment came sin revived, and I died, and the 
commandment, which was ordained to life, I found 
to be unto death/ 

This is the true sin, which is such both before 
God and in our own sight. Thus David, after he 
had committed adultery with Bathsheba, was at 
first careless as to the sin of which he was guilty; 
it -slept, yea it was yet dead. But when Nathan 
came and thundered into his heart the words: 
." Thou art the man who art guilty of death before 
jGod," sin began to revive in David's soul. Nathan 


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QUAsraoDOGENrn. 315 

however comforts lrim with the promise: "Thou 
shalt not die." 

Thus we see how the authority of the apostles is- 
not applied in worldly aftairs, which merely pertain 
to the outward life of man, nor only to such trans- 
gressions as the civil government judges and pun- 
ishes, but that it exerts its power over sin, which is 
regarded and held as such by God and man. Yea, 
the sins of the whole world are thus under the con- 
trol of the apostles and of all ministers of the 
Gospel, even of every Christian in case of necessity; 
so that we can be fully assured of the forgiveness 
of our sins when our pastor, or, in case of his 
absence, when any Christian declares it unto us in 
the name of Jesus Christ. Such a declaration will 
be as valid as if Christ were personally present to 
pronounce it, or had sent an angel from heaven to 
proclaim it unto us. 

Such authority and power is however not given 
to the apostles and ministers that they on that 
account should be overbearing and proud. It is 
not their own power which they exercise ; they are 
simply servants of God to bring help to their fellow- 
men, to rescue them from the mighty thralldom of 
the enemy of their souls' salvation. It is a great 
and glorious achievement when a man, himself a 
poor, miserable sinner, exercises this power and 
puts to flight an enemy so strong that otherwise 
the whole world combined could not rout him. 
Christ says : "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are 
remitted unto them," and again: "Whatsoever ye 
shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 
fiincatheu these words : "As my Father, hath sent 
me, even so send I you," are so plain, no one should 

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doubt that his sins are really forgiven as soon as 
the. absolution is pronounced. 

For this reason we so frequently exhort you to 
apply these glorious gifts which Christ has left to 
His Church and never to despise them. Christ has 
instituted the office of the ministry to battle against 
sin and to remit it wherever it really exists and is 
confessed in true faith. With those so-called sins, 
invented by men, we have here nothing to do ; we 
mean sins which are such and which move the heart 
with terror. 

Adam preaches the same doctrine to his son 
Cain, in Genesis, where he tells him : "If thou doest 
well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest 
not well, sin lieth at the door." Thou art a sinner, 
but art not aware of it : sin, as it were, slumbers, 
but in a very unquiet place ; if it is aroused thy 
condition will be greatly changed. Sin, though 
dormant now, will not sleep on forever; it will 
awake and torment thy conscience with terrible 
stings, driving thee to despair. Those persons who 
do not concern themselves about sin are sinners 
indeed, but they cannot be absolved ; their sins will 
be retained, for they desire no remission and prefer 
to continue in their evil ways. 

The doctrine of the papists in this regard was: 
Let him who desires forgiveness meditate upon his 
sins and be penitent. On this penitence they then 
based the remission of sins. It is possible that this 
practice arose from an imitation of the example 
of the fathers, who insisted upon it, just as we now 
do, that whosoever wished to be absolved must first 
be truly penitent and ready to confess his sins. 
This is right, and just as it should be; but it is 

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entirely false when such penitence is regarded as 
meriting forgiveness, when it is made the ground 
of the remission of sins. Penitence has no merits; 
it is simply a realization of the enormity and power 
of sin, which makes itself felt in the heart. Hence 
it is wrong to trust in penitence, as if it were suffi- 
cient to bring remission of sins. 

Previous to this penitence there is no account 
made of sin. It is indeed present, but man is dead 
to it; it sleeps; it is sin deprived of vitality, as 
Adam tells Cain in the words quoted above. But 
when sin revives and makes itself felt, it disturbs 
the heart and conscience ; yet we cannot call these 
manifestations a meritorious work ; it is simply, as 
St. Paul calls it, living sin. And surely, it would 
be foolish to assert that sin can merit grace. 

The people under the papacy were therefore 
greatly deceived when absolution was given them 
on account of their penitence, as being some merit 
or good work. All the papal bulls conveying for- 
giveness of sius are directed to the "contritis et con- 
fes&is," to the penitent and those who have made a 
confession. Penitence, if real, is nothing but sin 
acknowledged, and surely there is no merit in this. 
We have remission of our sins when we have faith 
in the words of Christ, and accept implicitly the 
declaration made in His name, that our sins are 
forgiven, not on account of our penitence, which is 
only sin experienced and confessed, and on "which 
we can build no hope of remission, but on account 
of the Word of Christ, in which we trust. 

Mere penitence, or feeling sin, has the eftect to 
drive us away from faith and from God, of whom 
we are afraid. This makes sin more terrible and 

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more effective, and causes in the end agony and 
despair, which is but a multiplication of sins. The 
thief, who has fallen into the hands of the execu- 
tioner, increases his crimes by adding to his theft a 
revengeful feeling against those in authority and 
against God. St. Paul speaks pertinently of this, 
Rom. 7, when he says : ''Sin by the commandment 
becomes exceeding sinful," that is, sin becomes 
strong and overwhelming in its effects. This they 
called penitence, when to one sin many others were 
added, so that the whole world is filled with sins, 
and peace and rest are nowhere to be found. 
Where the heart is in such a condition as this, 
despair must follow. Judas the betrayer had such 
penitence as this. Christ, with His cheering word 
and command respecting the remission of sins, 
must also be present, else all is dark and hopeless. 

Where there is penitence and fear, Christ ap- 
proaches and says : Thou art full of sins, and in 
misery turnest away from me; I cannot absolve 
thee on this account. Penitence and sorrow are 
necessary, for without them there can be no sincere 
hatred of sin and no longing desire to be freed 
from it ; but do not confine thyself to this lamenta- 
tion ; come to me, hear and accept my word in 
true faith, and thou shalt have remission of sins. 

This indeed was not the style of preachiug among 
the papists; they sent the penitent to St. James, to 
Rome, or other sacred places, telling them to trust 
in their penitence and to do good works. The 
word and commandment of Christ in reference to 
the remission of sins was entirely disregarded by 
them. But this command stands here immovable : 
? Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto 


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them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are 
retained." This is plain enough. Nowhere else 
but in the words of Christ our Saviour can we find 
forgiveness of our sins. Go for this purpose where- 
ever else you please, you will surely go amiss. 
What did we gain by it when we. tortured ourselves 
with fasting, singing, prayer, vigils, reading mass, 
and the like? Were our sins remitted on that 
account? Surely not. Is it not a shame and an 
abomination that we were taught to seek remission 
of sins by means of penitence, which by itself is 
only sin aggravated? If my works, my penitence 
and confessions can do it, of what value is the 
word of Christ, and what need is there of His com- 
mand in regard to the remission of sins? We 
might as well be Jews aud Turks, who also 
desire to be saved, though they reject Christ. The 
Pope is really worse than the Turk and Jews, 
because he abuses the name of Christ in teaching 
bis false doctrine. 

We ought ever to remember that Christ makes 
remission of sins dependent upon His Word, and 
not upon pilgrimages, masses, alms or other so- 
called good works, of whatever kind they may be. 
Whoever now desires remission of sins, let him go 
to his minister cr to some other fellow Christian 
who has God's Word, and he will surely find con- 
solation there. It is certain that by no exertions 
of our own can we overcome sin, and everything 
we do, even if we torture ourselves to death, will 
be in vain. This was often experienced in popery. 
When one was troubled in his conscience and went 
into a monastery, or performed some other peni- 
tential work, for the purpose of earning peace and 

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happiness, he had to confess that neither cowl, nor 
rosaries, nor fasting, nor other penances, could in 
the least remove his misery or ease his conscience. 

We know the reason of this failure. Christ tells 
us in our text that sins are remitted or retained 
through His Word. He whose sins are not remitted 
by this Word, because he hears it not, has them 
retained by the same Word ; for this is the only 
means whereby sins are effectually dealt with. 
You may therefore do what you please, your sins 
will be retained if you depend on your own works 
and despise these words of Christ. The Lord our 
God made forgiveness of sins contingent on no 
work that we might perform, but on the great 
work which Christ accomplished when He died for 
the world, and for our benefit arose from the dead. 
The application of this His work He makes through 
the Word which He entrusted to the apostles, to the 
ministers of the Gospel, yea, to every Christian, 
authorizing them to declare unto all who seek it 
the remission of sins. 

Thus we have pointed out to us the only way in 
which we can surely find remission of sins. The 
command has been issued long ago to remit sins, 
and in the Word we are sure to find this remission. 
If we seek it not there, our sins will be retained, 
do what we may ; for, as has been repeatedly said, 
there is no remission except in the Word of Christ. 
This Word, however, has been entrusted to the 
apostles and all Christians, and they are to apply it; 
he who seeks any other remedy for the ills of sin, 
shall not find it, no matter what he may do to 
accomplish that end. This divine declaration, that 
sin is removed by the Word alone, without the 

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assistance of any works, stands firmly fixed; it 
must be heeded by us, or we have no remission. 

This, however, has not only reference to absolu- 
tion, but, as we mentioned already in the beginning 
of our sermon, to all the functions of the holy 
ministry. Christ declares in the words of our text 
that remission of sins shall be proclaimed and im- 
parted by the preaching of the Word and by the 
holy Sacraments. The object of preaching the 
Gospel is to bring men to a knowledge of their sins, 
that they may become pious and just. We are 
baptized that through the death of our Lord our 
sins may be forgiven, and Christ has instituted His 
Supper that we may truly believe that His body 
was sacrificed for us and that His blood was shed 
in our behalf and therefore have no doubts of the 
remission of our sins. To strengthen our faith in 
this forgiveness of sins, Christ so ordained it that 
each one must receive the Sacraments for himself; 
it will not answer to baptize one for many, nor to 
administer the Lord's Supper to one as the repre- 
sentative .of others; each one must himself enjoy 
these blessings. In. like manner each one must for 
himself hear the Word and seek absolution, if he 
desires to be comforted thereby. Let no one doubt, 
when the declaration of remission of sin in Jesus' 
name is pronounced, that it is true and that all his 
sins are removed, yea that he is released from them 
also in heaven and in the sight of God. 

The Word and the Sacraments therefore belong 
together; for Christ has included the Sacraments 
in the Word. Without the Word we could not be 
comforted by the Sacraments; we would not even 
know what they are. It is consequently not only 

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a great blindness and error, but also a terrible 
abuse, when the papists preach remission of sins 
regardless of the Word upon which all depends, 
and delude people by directing them to seek absolu- 
tion through penances and works of their own. 

But, because the remission of sins is communi- 
cated through the Word, which, as has been fre- 
quently said, was entrusted by our Lord to the 
Church and her ministers, yea, unto all Christians, 
that it should be preached, it follows that this 
remission of sin must be believed, and that there is 
no way of obtaining it, except by faith. The doc- 
trine of justification by faith alone is the very 
foundation of our creed. The word of Christ, 
which He gave to His disciples, can certainly not 
be seized with the hands nor by any self-imposed 
works, such as fasting, prayers, giving of alms and 
the like; faith alone can appropriate it, and the 
heart alone is the proper receptacle for it. It is 
evident and certain that we are justified only 
through faith, because remission of sins comes 
through the Word, and the Word can be received 
only by faith. 

Of this the Pope and his party are ignorant; 
yea, they are so hardened that they refuse to learn 
it. They have put aside both faith and the Word, 
and have told the people to depend on their own 
works, on their piety and merits. Would that 
God might silence these fellows with their false 
doctrines. It behooves us, however, to remember 
this papistic doctrine with all its horrors, and to 
compare it with the true doctrine which we preach, 
else we are in danger of falling again into error, 
and of again seeking remission of sins by our own 

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works. Christ directs us to His Word and away 
from our works; He makes His Word powerful 
and has it preached by His disciples, whom He 
sends even as He was sent by the Father. 

Where there is forgiveness of sins and the hearts, 
as St. Peter says, are purified by faith, there good 
works will surely follow, proceeding from a sancti* 
fied source. Faith slumbers not, and the Holy 
Ghost ever prompts to obedience to God's Word 
and to a warfare against flesh and sin. May God 
grant xis grace, through Christ Jesus, both to 
believe and to experience this truth. Amen. 

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John 10, 11-16 I am the good shepherd : the good shepherd gireth 
his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, 
whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the 
sheep, and fleeth ; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the 
sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not 
for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am 
known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the 
Father : and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I 
have, which are not of this fold : them also I must bring, and they 
shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 

iL Ihis Gospel, like other works of Christ, may 
"^be considered in two aspects, as teaching first 
faith, and secondly love. To our faith the fact is 
presented that Christ is the Shepherd, the only one 
who lays down His life for His sheep. No human 
being, no saint, no angel could accomplish the great 
work of redeeming fallen man, whom the devil, 
through the sin committed in paradise, had hurled 
into death ; Christ alone could be this Redeemer 
through His death. This was this Shepherd's 
proper work, which no one else can imitate, as 
little as any other of His works done for our salva- 
tion can be equaled. 

No one can therefore appropriate to himself the 
words which Christ here uses: "I am the good 
Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth his life for 
the sheep." With these words He would teach us 
to trust in Him, to regard the sufferings of all the 
saints as naught when compared with His suffer- 
ings in our behalf. Moses, the prophets and the 
apostles were eminent men, true and watchful 

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shepherds and rulers among the people of God; 
they taught and preached aright what it behooved 
men to believe and to do ; they also suffered much 
on that account, the most of them even dying the 
martyr's death ; yet notwithstanding all this they 
can in no wise be compared with Christ. He is the 
Only Begotten of the Father, the Lord of glory, 
the true and only Shepherd over all, who from the 
foundation of the world spake through the patri- 
archs and the prophets, and in the fullness of time 
became man, revealing His Father's will. He 
indeed "laid down His life for the sheep," for all 
who believe in Him, who trust in Him in life and 
in death, assured that in Him there is redemption 
from the power of the devil who held the whole 
human race in the bondage of sin and death. He 
also established an everlasting Church throughout 
the world, and keeps it through His Word, con- 
tinually increasing her boundaries, that His name 
may be hallowed and worshiped and confessed. 
To this end He gave unto the Church His Holy 
Spirit, the Comforter, who protects her by power 
divine against the wrath, fury and murderous 
assaults of the devil and his servants. And though 
very many lose their life as martyrs of their faith 
and confession now, yet will they, in the great day 
of resurrection, be brought by Him into life eternal 
with all the elect, where there is inexpressible joy 
and happiness unalloyed; and this to the utter 
confusion and everlasting shame of His enemies 
and theirs. 

All this no angel can accomplish, much less a 
man, though he be a patriarch, a prophet, or an 
apostle. Moses, all the prophets, the apostles and 

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other faithful shepherds, when they had finished 
their preaching and had performed their duties 
well, passed away in death ; Christ, however, is the 
same yesterday, to-day and forever. Therefore He 
is a dittereut Shepherd from all others who have 
watched the fold of Christ. These may indeed 
have faithfully guarded the flock entrusted to them, 
and may have fed their sheep on the true Word of 
God, directing them to Christ as the great Shepherd 
of souls ; nor did they flee and leave their flocks 
unprotected when the wolf was seen approaching, 
but bravely met him, defending their herds, when 
necessary, even at the sacrifice of their own lives; 
yet with all this devotion to their sheep, their 
shepherds could not take away from them their 
sins, nor free them from death. Christ, the great 
Shepherd, alone could and did do this through His 
own death. Others might indeed lay down their 
life as a testimony to the truth of the word which 
they preached, and to confirm their people in the 
pure doctrine which they taught from God's Word, 
but more they could not accomplish thereby. Of 
this more anon. 

Even if we have nothing to fear from the enemies 
of God's Word, if we preach it in its purity, or 
refuse to hear the voice of a stranger, if our body 
and life is secure from persecution and murder, yet 
it behooves us to take good heed against the moat 
dangerous wolf, the devil, that he may not pounce 
upon us and tear us into pieces in a much more 
dreadful manner than earthly tyrants do, who 
indeed can slay the body, but ire not able to injure 
the soul. To escape this wolf we dare not depend 
.upon our holy life, upon our good works and 

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righteousness, not even upon the fulfillment of the 
law of God. The law is of no avail in this regard ; 
it even causes us sorrow, by accusing us in our 
conscience of our faithlessness and many short- 
comings in the sight of the Lord our God. It 
shows us our disobedience, our want of love and 
confidence, thus pronouncing against us the sentence 
of eternal damnation. Much less will our vows, 
our chastity, our penances, and whatever other 
works we might do, avail us anything ; they are 
works of our own choosing, often contrary to the 
Word and will of God ; therefore we cannot rely 
upon them. 

We must absolutely dispense with all self-made 
consolation and learn to depend entirely, in un- 
shaken faith, upon Him who says in our text : "I 
am the good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for 
my sheep." He does not flee before the wolf; He 
would rather die under the teeth of the wolf than 
suffer him to destroy even the smallest of the flock. 
Hence we ought to rely on Him in this great dan- 
ger and seek alone His mighty defence. We must 
have faith to do this ; we can do nothing of our- 
selves in this regard ; Christ has done all and does 
all for us, and commands us to accept His merits in 
our behalf with true, unwavering faith. 

The other lesson is that the example of our great 
Shepherd is set before us for our imitation, as St. 
Peter writes, 1 Pet. 2 : "Who His own self bare 
our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, 
being dead unto sins, should live unto righteous- 
ness : by whose stripes ye were healed. J'or ye 

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were as sheep going astray ; but are now returned 
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." Of 
this doctrine, pertaining to faith more directly, he 
makes an application to our daily life and the 
practice of love toward others, when he says in the 
same chapter : "Because Christ also suffered for us, 
leaving us an example, that ye should follow His 
steps." As Christ died for us, to save us from 
death and condemnation by His own sacrifice, 
without any price paid by ourselves, thus it be- 
hooves us to serve one another, regardless of paiu 
and sacrifice. Thus the example of Christ is fol- 
lowed, and thus every Christian becomes a good 
shepherd. If I cannot by my death rescue others 
from damnation and sin, for, as we have seen above, 
Christ the great Shepherd can alone do this, I can 
nevertheless set others a bright example of the 
power of faith even in death, so that they may 
come to Jesus and learn to know Him as their 
Saviour. The world and the devil certainly are 
deadly enemies of the Gospel, and so is the Pope, 
who exerts all his power to crush the«fficacy of the 
Word. Hence faithful shepherds must be prepared 
for persecutions, and be ready, if necessary, to lay 
down their life in defence of the truth. 

Pious, faithful pastors are needed, who are sure 
of their redemption in Jesus Christ and are ready 
to follow the example given by Him, even to die 
for their flock and to lay their heads on the block 
as martyrs of the Word. Such a devotion to truth 
saves not others, it is true, for salvation comes 
alone by the death of Christ ; but it serves *to con- 
firm the faith of the brethren. Thus God is glori- 

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fied in my death, and my brother is strengthened 
in his faith by my blood, though it has no saving 
power. Salvation can come only through the 
death of the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ, as we 
have repeatedly stated. 

In this connection we must not forget that false 
teachers and tyrants, who persecute the pure doc- 
trine and condemn it, are called wolves, A true 
Christian, however, will not be frightened when 
the wolf comes, nor will he permit his neighbor to 
be deprived of the Word and true knowledge of 
Jesus ; he would rather lay down his life than to 
have others deprived of these blessings, as the 
apostles and the martyrs did, who did not flee from 
the wolf, but resisted him to the last. 

So it should still be. He who wishes to be a 
minister of the Gospel must have his whole heart 
in the calling, earnestly desirous of the glory of 
God and the welfare of his fellow men. If this ia 
not the only aim one has in this holy office, if he 
looks to external gain or loss, he is simply not fit 
to be a minister of Christ. He is either a coward 
who disgracefully flies when the wolf comes, leav- 
ing the sheep unprotected at the mercy of the 
enemy, as our Lord says : "A hireling, and not the 
shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the 
wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth ;" or 
he is afraid boldly to speak the truth and suffers 
the flock to wander away from the good pasture, 
without preaching to them the Word of God. They 
who preach for outward gain, for money, and are 
not content with their daily bread, which God 
kindly gives, are nothing but hirelings. We 


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preachers must be satisfied if we have an adequate 
support ; if we long for more we are hirelings who 
care not for their flocks. A true shepherd will 
sacrifice all, even his life, for the welfare of those 
entrusted to his care. 

This example of the good Shepherd is however 
not merely given for those who are in the office of 
the ministry, but for all Christians. It is a duty 
pertaining to all, to make a bold confession of their 
faith and rather to die than to abjure the Word 
and to commit idolatry. They know that if they 
must yield up their life on earth they have a good 
Shepherd, through whose death for them they shall 
live for evermore. 

Christ continues His discourse by speaking of 
His sheep, distinguishing them from others. He 
points out His truth as distinct from heresy and all 
other doctrine, sayiug : "I am the good Shepherd, 
and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As 
the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: 
and I lay down my life for the sheep." The mean- 
ing of these words is : If you wish to be my sheep, 
all depends upon your really knowing me, your 
Shepherd ; no harm can then befall you. It is 
therefore an urgent duty of every true preacher of 
the Gospel to preach Christ, and Him alone, so 
that people may learn to know Him as to His per- 
son and His blessings, keeping His Word and 
honoring Him alone as the good Shepherd who 
laid down His life for them. To impress this truth 
upon the hearts of the people, to present to them 
their Shepherd, is an imperative duty of every 
Christian minister. 

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Then we must also urge the example presented, 
that as Christ willingly gave Himself up and 
suffered for us, so we ought to be ready to endure 
and suffer every ill and persecution for the Word's 
sake. Both these points we must preach to our 
people. Whoever hears and practices these lessons 
is a sheep in the fold of Christ, for He has said : 
"My sheep hear my voice." If we preach and 
teach this truth we are good shepherds, though we 
cannot die for the sheep as Christ did. 

Those persons who will not hear this preaching, 
or who as preachers will not proclaim it to their 
flock, are not good shepherds, but even the best of 
them are hirelings and ravenous wolves. Such 
preachers ought not to be indulged ; we ought to 
avoid them like the very devil. Yet the Pope is 
just such an one. He teaches falsely and denies 
that Christ is the only good Shepherd who can save 
from death, when he directs people to be their own 
shepherds, to flee from the wolf by virtue of their 
own good works. Thus they preach in the Pope's 
church the necessity of the mass, of pilgrimages, of 
monastic practices, and the like. 

If we are to be true Christians we must heed the 
Word of Christ, even as a sheep heeds the words of 
its shepherd, while it disregards the language of a 
stranger. We therefore say to the Pope and his 
preachers: We know not your voice; you are 
wolves intent on our destruction; depart, and hush 
your howlings; we follow only the voice of our 
good Shepherd. 

Christ says : "They shall hear my voice," and 
again : "A stranger will they not follow, but will 

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ftee from him, for they know not the voice of 
stfangers." It is impossible that a sheep which has 
heard and understood the voice of the good Shep- 
herd, and in whose heart faith has found an abid- 
ing place, should yet heed a doctrine which is con- 
trary to the words of Christ. We indeed heed the 
laws of kings and princes, the regulations of 
municipalities and the like, because they pertain 
only to this temporal life ; they have nothing to do 
with our salvation, for no compliance with the 
laws and regulations of this world can bring us 
into life eternal. If therefore any preacher comes, 
not as an official of the powers of this world, but 
professedly in the name of God, and tells us that 
we must do penance for our sins, and that we can 
be saved by means of the mass, by doing charitable 
works, &c, we answer him : Thou art a cheat ; we 
know not thy voice ; it sounds like the voice of a 

Experience has taught that a sheep is gifted by 
nature above other animals with a most acute dis- 
tinction of sounds. Among ten thousand people it 
recognizes its shepherd by the sound of bis voice 
and follows him; and if ten thousand sheep are 
collected in one flock and all the ewes are bleating, 
each little lamb knows the voice of its mother, and 
runs to meet her. 

Christ, no doubt, has reference in our Gospel to 
this peculiarity. He would say : I also have such 
lambs ; I am their Shepherd and they are able to 
distinguish my voice and to follow it. Nor will 
they obey if any other voice calls them. If we 

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therefore desire to be His sheep, we must have this 
sure faculty of hearing and must be able to distin- 
guish His voice from every other, however pleasant, 
clear and friendly this may be. 

We should therefore learn from this Gospel and 
earnestly endeavor to practice it, that we must hear 
the Word of God and be firmly grounded in it 
against the allurements of the devil, who is an un- 
ceasing tempter to everything evil, and who is ever 
prepared to lead us to destruction, and against 
every form of false doctrine. The wolf is full of 
cunning; if he cannot overcome you with false 
doctrine, he will try to do so by instilling wicked 
thoughts into your heart. Then is the proper time 
for us to say : I heed not this voice ; it is that of 
the wolf and not that of my Shepherd ; my Shep- 
herd's voice tells me : "I am the good Shepherd : 
and I lay down my life for the sheep ;" but thou 
wolf wouldst fain induce me to fear Him and to 
run away from Him. If we can meet the enemy 
with such determination, we will succeed in expel- 
ling him from our presence; yea, the devil will 
then desist from oppressing our hearts and from 
the attempt to lead us astray; he will not succeed 
in making us afraid or despondent. 

If we thus become thoroughly acquainted with 
the voice of our good Shepherd, if we can distin- 
guish Him by it among a thousand, we will then 
know Him well and He in return will know and 
love us. How, indeed, could He be our enemy who 
•gave His own life that we might live forever, and 
who rescues us from sin, death and every evil ? No 

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other voice but His will give us $uch comfort; 
therefore we must heed it well. 

These expressions of Christ in our text are still 
further so cheering and consolatory, because He 
calls Himself a Shepherd, and us, who have and 
hear His Word, His sheep. No Christian can now 
reasonably complain that he is forsaken. It may 
be that one is in need of money and earthly prop- 
erty ; another may be deprived of health ; and a 
third may want something else, so that it might 
appear that we were in the midst of wolves and 
without a shepherd, as Christ also says : "Behold, I 
send you as sheep into the midst of wolves." We 
can see it with our own eyes, every day of our life, 
how the Christian Church is in the condition of a 
sheep which the wolf has seized by its fleece and 
which he is about to devour. It may seem some- 
times as if we were without a Shepherd. But thus 
it must be, else we would not seek our only comfort 
in our true Shepherd's reed, which sounds so in- 
vitingly when Christ says : "My sheep know my 

If we obey this voice and follow it, we can then 
truly say that we know our Shepherd and that we 
are known of Him. Nor can the devil injure him 
who heeds and follows the Word of the good Shep- 
herd. No matter what may betide our person under 
the providence of God, or our possessions, or our 
household, we will ever hear the voice of our Shep- 
herd, who cheers us with these words : Ye are my 
dearly purchased flock who know my voice and 
who I am ; I will not forget you. Such recognition 
has its foundation in the Word and in faith ; on 

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lione other can it rest ; therefore Christ declares : 
"I know them even as the Father knoweth me and 
I the Father." 

•When Christ, the Son of God, yet walked on 
earth, it often seemed as if He was entirely in the 
power of the devil and his imps, so that they could 
practice upon Him all their malicious pranks at 
pleasure. God had apparently deserted Him. But 
when Christ in great agony exclaims : "My God, 
my God, why hast Thou forsaken me," when He 
died upon the cross and was buried, and the devil 
really thought that Christ had no God, then it was 
manifest that the Father knew Him well, for He 
leads forth His Son from death and hell. 

Even so, Christ declares, shall it be with you, my 
sheep. Be not confounded, though it seems at first 
as if I knew you not. A Christian must, while yet 
on earth, endure many misfortunes, sorrows, sins 
and all kinds of miseries, as though there were no 
difference between him and the wicked. His life 
and death, outwardly viewed, have nothing peculiar; 
it even seems, now and then, that God leads the 
Christian through much severer trials than if he 
were a heathen; he certainly has more conflicts 
with temptations and other tribulations of the soul. 
But be not discoucerted thereby ; remember what 
thy Shepherd has said : "I kuow my sheep." 

Ah, say the devil and our unhallowed reason, 
why do we fare so badly if we are sheep of Christ's 
fold ? We answer : It is nevertheless a fact that 
He knows us, nor will we waver in this faith, 
though death and misfortune visit us. We know 
His voice and hear it plainly, declaring unto us in 

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the tones of a shepherd to his lambs : I am your 
Shepherd, who laid down His life for you. These 
words we hear and believe, and thereby have a cer- 
tain proof that we know Him and are known of 
Him. Nov shall our experience in life change this 
conviction. Troubles here on earth are* but tem- 
poral, but His Word assures us of life eternal. 
What matters it if we must die, just like those 
who believe not in Christ? The voice of -our Shep- 
herd comes to our ears in the most friendly tones 
with the assurance: "Whosoever believeth in me, 
shall never die ;" and again : "I lay down my life 
for the sheep." On account of these declarations 
we are fully convinced that our Shepherd, Jesus 
Christ, knows us and that we are safe in His care. 

This recognition, however, does not yet become 
manifest, so that faith may be exercised ; for if by 
means of Baptism we were entirely exempt from 
impurity and death, we would have no need of the 
Word nor of faith. But because the Won! still 
remains, it must be accepted in faith, and not by 
experience, until that final day when faith shall 
cease and everything shall be seen and experienced. 

Beyond all doubt, man becomes through Baptism 
pure and beautiful before God, even as the sun 
itself; no sin remains iu him; he is fully justified, 
as Christ says : "He who believes and is baptized, 
shall be saved." This, however, is not perceptible 
to the eye; but it is true according to the Word 
and ordiuation of Christ. It is therefore all-impor- 
tant that we exercise implicit faith in the Word, 
that we do not in the least deviate from it, con- 
vinced that in the life to come all that we now hear 

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through the "Word and believe will be manifest in 
the bliss of eternal life. As this life and the life 
after death are essentially different, it is impossible 
fully to experience here on earth what we shall feel 
and understand hereafter. 

It therefore exceeds our skill to distinguish be- 
yond all mistake a Christian from other men. 
"Who, indeed, can assert that he has eternal life ? 
And yet we must declare it as a simple fact, that a 
child, which by nature is oppressed with death, sin 
and other ills, which shbw nought of eternal life, 
begins eternal life at the time of its Baptism. How 
is this possible? No change is perceptible, indeed, 
in the mode of life ; yet God has substituted for the 
former life of sin and corruption an eternal life, 
beginning already in this world, and this new life 
is a reality, according to the Word and to faith, 
though we neither see nor feel it now. 

Consequently, if we wish to know who is a 
Christian, we must not judge by the outward 
appearance, but by the Word. A sheep lives be- 
cause it hears the voice of its shepherd, for surely 
as soon as it disregards this voice it will go astray 
and becomes a prey to wolves. The only safety is 
in the neighborhood of the shepherd ; therefore 
that sheep which hears the shepherd's voice is 
secure. Just so the Christian. If he does not hear 
the Word of Christ he has no consolation; if he 
faithfully heeds this Word he has everything that 
Christ achieved for him, forgiveness of sins and 
eternal life. Then he will be filled with hope and 
joy every day of his life. In the midst of his labors 
and in the performance of his daily duties, while he 


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eats and drinks and works, yes even while he suffers 
pains, wiiich are also ordained of God, he realizes 
that he is a sheep in the fold of Jesus; to His voice 
he listens, and judges his life not according to w r hat 
he sees and feels, hut according to the words of 
Christ : "I am the good Shepherd, and know my 
sheep, and am kuown of mine. As the Father 
knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay 
down my life for the sheep." 

Let us learn this lesson and accustom ourselves 
to accept calmly the fact that Christians must yet 
suffer and die like other men. It is true Christian 
wisdom and a precious acquirement if we can say : 
In the outward, daily life and experiences of men, 
we see no difference between Christians and unbe- 
lievers, unless it be this, that the faithful . often 
endure much more sorrow and misfortune than the 
others, yet we know that a great difference exists 
between them, in their relation to the Word, so 
that the Christian is distinguishable from the infidel 
not by his features, nor even by his apparent piety, 
but by his having and hearing the voice of his 
Shepherd. Heathens, Turks, Jews, hypocrites and 
false Christians, who propose to earn their salvation 
by their own good works, do not hear nor heed this 
voice; nor do the tyrants and the unchristian, 
Epicurean multitude, nor the Pope with his syco- 
phants, know this Shepherd's call, which is heard 
and understoQd alone by the lambs and sheep of 
the fold of Jesus. Otherwise, in external appear- 
ance and temporal avocations, there is no difference. 

The meaning of the words of Christ : "And other 
sheep I have, which are not of this fold ; them also 

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must I bring, and there shall be one fold and one 
Shepherd," became evident on the day of Pentecost, 
when the Gospel began to be preached by the apos- 
tles to all the world. This Gospel still continues 
its conquests throughout the world, but we must 
not expect all men to accept its teaching and to be 
saved ; this will never happen ; the devil prevents 
it. The world is opposed to the Word and refuses 
to be admonished, therefore various beliefs and 
religions will continue to exist. "One fold and one 
Shepherd" simply means that God will for Christ's 
sake receive all as His dear children, whether they 
were Jews or Gentiles, who believe the Gospel. 
The only true religion is, to follow this Shepherd 
and to hear His voice. 

May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the only 
and true Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, to- 
gether with the Father and the Holy Ghost, grant 
us this faith ; unto whom be honor and glory now 
and forever. Amen. 

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John 16, 1 6-23. A little while, and ye shall not see me : and again, 
a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father, Then 
said some of His disciples among themselves, What is this that He 
saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me; and again, a 
little while, and ye shall see me : and, Because I go to the Father? 
They said therefore, What is this that He saith, A little while? we 
cannot tell what He saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous 
to ask Him, and said unto them, Do you inquire among yourselves of 
that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me : and again, a little 
while, and ye shall see me ? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye 
shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice ; and ye shall be 
sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when 
she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon 
as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, 
for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore 
have sorrow : but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, 
and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask 
me nothing. 

|jl)ur text is a portion of those parting words 
, which Christ addressed to His disciples, while 
He was seated with them at the table, in the evening 
before His betrayal by Judas into the hands of the 
Jews. He wished the disciples to understand their 
duty and to regulate their actions accordingly, after 
their Master would be giveu over into the hands of 
His enemies, and therefore tells them that, although 
they would be sad and would mourn at the event, 
they should yet be comforted, inasmuch as the 
separation would not be of long duration, and that 
they should see Him again in a little while, after 
He had arisen from the dead, and that then their 
joy would be an everlasting one. 

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John tells us further how the disciples were 
puzzled at these expressions of Jesus, for they could 
not comprehend what He meant by the words "a 
little while ;" nor did they understand their mean- 
ing after Christ had explained it to them. The 
same perplexity controls us in this regard ; we can- 
not rightly apprehend this "little while ;" for the 
very same obstacle which prevented the disciples 
from understanding these words lies before us and 
dims our vision. 

When tribulation came, and when the disciples 
saw the horrible and pitiable death of their Master, 
they could not realize that this was to be but for a 
little while; .they thought that this was the end of 
their Lord and of His work, and expected nothing 
else than persecution, suffering and death, even as 
it had happened to their Master. 

They were far from believing that after two days 
their Lord would arise from the dead to an endless 
life, and would be their Redeemer from sin, death 
and hell, and give them finally everlasting life. 
Hence it happened to them, as St. John elsewhere 
relates, that on Easter they were gathered together 
with closed doors for fear of the Jews, and would 
not at all credit the report of Christ's resurrection, 
although the women, Peter and the other two dis- 
ciples had seen Him. They were entirely incredu- 
lous as to the "little while" of this occurrence; 
they thought Christ would have to remain in death 
as other men, and this caused their great sorrow, 
else they would have cheerfully awaited His resur- 
rection and would thus have been comforted. 

We act repeatedly as the disciples do here. As 
soon as God permits a misfortune to befall us we 

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despond, and think that there is no remedy nor 
rescue possible from its weight. We are not pre- 
pared to exclaim or believe that, after a little while, 
God will mercifully and unexpectedly come to our 
assistance, and are therefore hopeless, fit only for 
complaint and lamentation. In this we err ; for St. 
Paul says that we ought to rejoice in tribulation 
and be bold, both on account of the present help, 
which will surely come if we but believe the Word, 
and because tribulation is a certain trial by which 
we may know that we are God's children. Of this 
we shall treat further on. 

Our text is therefore full of comfort, not only for 
the disciples, but for all Christians: They are ex- 
horted to learn the meauing of the word modicum, 
which means "a little while," that they may apply 
it as a remedy in tribulation, knowing the truth of 
the comfortable assurance that the troubles shall 
last but for a little while, after which sorrow will 
pass away and joy and gladness take its place. 

For the purpose of comprehending this consola- 
tion the better, we will now speak in general of 
crosses and sorrows. Our reason assumes that God, 
if He cared for us and loved us, would ward off all 
evil from us, whereas now troubles and miseries 
crowd in upon us from every side ; hence the con- 
clusion is that God has either forgotten us, or else 
He has become our enemy and cares no longer for 
us ; for surely if it were otherwise He would deliver 
us from our grief and distress.- But such thoughts 
are wicked, and since they are very apt to arise, we 
must guard against them by applying the Word in 
true faith, and by following its precepts and not 
our own thoughts. If we judge our experiences in 

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daily life aside from the light which the Word of 
God casts upon them, we shall inevitably become 
victims of error. 

What says the Word in this connection ? Not 
even a single hair shall fall from our head against 
the will of God. If we accept this declaration in 
earnest faith, we will conclude that neither the devil 
nor the world, no matter how powerful they are, 
can harm the Christian in the least, if it is not 
God's will that they should do so. Christ makes 
this plain in the parable of the sparrows ; these are 
really useless birds, which do more injury than 
good, and yet not one of them shall fall to the 
ground and perish unless it be the will of the Father 
in heaven, Matt. 10. Now, if we have any confi- 
dence whatever in the words of Jesus, we must con- 
clude from this that God will certainly concern 
Himself much rather for men than for many spar- 
rows ; He therefore will guard them well and will 
not permit the devil and the world to harm a single 
one of His Christians against His will. If troubles 
do come, we infer that God has first given His con- 
sent; for against His knowledge they could not 
arise. Let us well remember this truth, so that we 
do not think, when evils surround us, that we are 
forsaken of God ; for He has not forgotten where 
we are, nor is He ignorant of our condition, though 
He permits sorrows to invest us. 

Another still more dangerous thought arises 
frequently under such circumstances. We are 
prone to say : If the sufferings which we endure are 
providential, then surely God cannot be our friend ; 
for if He were, He would not permit this misery to 
visit us, but would ward it off, and make us happy 

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and prosperous. Then comes the conscience in 
addition, with its accusations of our sins and mis- 
doings, so that our condition becomes nearly des- 
perate, and we are not far from hatred towards 
God, and turn away from Him to seek help some- 
where else, where we are forbidden to go. We 
would more patiently bear our misfortune, and 
would regard it less burdensome, if the devil and 
wicked men had brought it upon us. Let us, then, 
hold firmly to God's Word and resist these subtile 
insinuations and arguments of our natural man ; if 
we do not, we shall either fall victims to despair or 
become open enemies of God. 

What says God's Word in regard to this ? St. 
Paul writes, 1 Cor. 11 : "For if we would judge 
ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we 
are judged, we are chas'tened of the Lord, that we 
should not be condemned with the world." These 
words arc plain : God chastens and disciplines those 
whom He would bring into eternal life ; they suffer 
many severe trials of sorrow and of pain, of misfor- 
tunes and tribulations, yet God is their friend. Let 
us not forget these words of the apostle. We all 
have our griefs and pains, and if we candidly ask 
ourselves : Had this tribulation not come upon me, 
would I not have fallen into some other calamity 
or sin, and is it not better thus, when God by these 
trials keeps me in faith and brings me to His Word 
and keeps me at prayer ? — I say, if we candidly 
look at our experience in this light, we shall surely 
find that God is not our enemy, even if He smites 
us, but that He in reality manifests His love toward 
us, and would by this discipline keep us from 
eternal misery. 

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In this sense does St. Paul, in his epistle to the 
Hebrews, cite the expression of Solomon, Proverbs 
3 : "My sou, despise not thou the chastening of the 
Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him : for 
whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourg- 
eth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure 
chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; 
for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth 
not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof 
all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not 
sons." And in the same connection : "Furthermore 
we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected 
us, and we gave them reverence : shall we not much 
rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, 
and live ? For they verily for a few days chastened 
us after their own pleasure ; but He for our profit, 
that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now 
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, 
but grievous : nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the 
peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which 
are exercised thereby." These passages teach us 
that the stripes which are inflicted on us by the 
hand of God are prompted by His paternal love and 
not by His wrath. If therefore we feel the inflic- 
tion, let us not suppose that God is angry with us 
or that He cares not for us. He disciplines us be- 
cause we are children, that we may not fall short of 
the inheritance which He has in store for us. 

This lesson concerning the purpose of sorrows 
and sufferings, which the Word teaches us, we also 
learn from facts and examples. Surely no one 
would have the presumption to assert that God 
Almighty, the Father in heaven, did not love His 
only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ ; and yet 

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when we view His life and death, if we were to 
judge from mere external appearances, we would 
have to say that no love of the Father is manifest 
there, that He is hostile and cruel towards His Son 
and punishes Him with utter severity, while the 
wicked Jews, intent on malicious actions, are 
spared. It is as Isaiah says : "Yet we did esteem 
Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." And 
the Jews in mockery said to Him when He was 
crucified : "If Thou be the Son of God, come down 
from the cross." 

If God thus willed it with His Son on earth, we 
need not wonder if the Christians have a similar 
experience. Christ says : "The servant is not above 
his master, if they have persecuted me they will 
also persecute you." And in the epistle to the 
Hebrews the apostle says very appropriately : "But 
if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are par- 
takers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." Thus 
we see how Scripture and examples fully agree in 
this regard, wherefore we ought to recognize in our 
sorrows and sufferings God's good and gracious 
will, and not for a moment think that He has for- 
saken us. Our tribulation should become unto us a 
sure testimonial of the love of God to ns, because 
we are assured by such visitations of our Father in 
heaven that we are His dearly beloved children. 

Let us now consider the reason why God thus 
seemingly unmercifully chastises His children and 
keeps them smarting under the rod. St. Paul 
mentions the reason when he says : "But when we 
are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we 
should not be condemned with the world." Like- 
wise we read, Psalm 119 : "It is good for me that I 

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have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes/* 
And Isaiah says in the 28. chapter: Vexatio dat 
intellectum, "It shall be a vexation only to under- 
stand the report." We must admit that if God 
gave us everything we desired, if He warded oft' all 
misfortune from us, we would become so secure 
that we would not be troubled by our sins, nor 
would we think of God's Word and of prayer. But 
when we are visited by various adversities we have 
occasion to resort to prayer and to call to mind 
how our sins have richly merited such chastisement, 
and we will thereby be prompted to an amendment 
of our conduct and to an earnest supplication that 
the affliction may be removed or moderated. This 
is the meaning of the words : "But our Father iu 
heaven chastened us for our profit, that we might 
be partakers of His holiness." 

If now the Christian is afflicted, he ought not to 
indulge in effeminate complaints and lamentations, 
but should remember that he has a merciful God in 
heaven, who has not forsaken him nor any of His 
children; who sends these trials and sorrows as 
reminders of man's trespasses and as a call to repent- 
ance and to a more faithful obedience and filial love. 
If we are thus disposed our sorrows will be our 
gain, and we will be patient under them. Nothing 
can then move us to become fretful or to seek for- 
bidden remedies ; we will quietly await the help of 
God and pray for it. 

Another lesson we must learn. If we know that 
no evil can befall us against the good and gracious 
will of God, we must also know and believe that 
He will find a rescue from our tribulation and will 
furnish present assistance. This consolation is fitly 

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expressed by the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 10 : "God is 
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted 
above that ye are able ; but will with the tempta- 
tiou also make a way to escape, that ye may be able 
to bear it." In full accord with this is the modicum, 
"a little while," of our text : "Ye shall be sorrowful, 
but your sorrow shall be turned into joy," yea, into 
a joy which is everlasting. 

There are two prominent reasons why our faith 
in regard to this "little while" is often wanting or 
weak. We are apt to regard the affliction when 
upon us as too severe and are ready to succumb to 
it. Thus when the chief marshal of the king of 
Assyria demanded the surrender of Jerusalem, 
Hezekiah sent to the prophet Isaiah this message : 
"This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of 
blasphemy : for the children are come to the birth, 
and there is not strength to bring forth." The 
same figure of speech is used by our Lord in the 
text when He speaks of the woman in travail ; 
apparently there is no help, mother and child must 
die. Thus the tribulations of the Christians are not 
insignificant nor easy to be borne, as we learn from 
the 69. Psalm, where Christ Himself exclaims in 
agony : "Save me, O God ; for the waters are come 
in unto my souL I sink in deep mire, where there 
is no standing : I am come into deep waters, where 
the floods overflow me." 

The second reason why we are so desponding is 
contained in our inability to discover ways and 
means of escape from our miseries. We are quick 
to conclude that there is no help possible ; we refuse 
to believe that the troubles will last but "a little 
while." To encourage us in this despondency the 

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Lord adduces in our Gospel the example of the 
woman in travail. When we view her in her dis- 
tress it seems that there is no help for her, she must 
perish ; but in a moment all is changed ; instead of 
death a twofold life succeeds : the mother is con- 
valescent and a bright, healthy child is born into 
the world. All sorrow vanishes and rapturous joy 
ensues. Of this we have examples every day ; for 
fatal results at child-birth, though now and then 
occurring, are nevertheless not frequent. Generally 
great happiness quickly succeeds pain and suffering, 
as Christ here says. This lesson we ought to lay to 
heart ; for this purpose the Lord taught it to His 
disciples. When sorrows, tribulations and afflic- 
tions come, let us call to mind that they will con- 
tinue only "a little while" and after that joy is ours. 
The apostle teaches this same lesson to the Hebrews 
when he tells them : "Now no chastening for the 
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous : never- 
theless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of 
righteousness unto them which are exercised there- 

Because of the sudden and often unexpected 
change of sorrows into joy our tribulations are said 
to be but for "a little while." Again, because our 
afflictions are exchanged in the end for everlasting 
happiness, they are regarded as but for "a little 
while." What matters it though poor Lazarus 
suffers for ten or for twenty years, if after that he 
is to be eternally comforted ? St. Paul says, Rom. 
8 : "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present 
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory 
which shall be revealed in us." And 2 Cor. 4: 
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 

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worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory ; while we look not at the things 
which are seen, but at the things which are not 
seen." And St. Peter says, 1 Pet. 1 : "Wherein ye 
greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, 
ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations : 
that the trial of your faith, being much more 
precious than of gold that perisheth^ though it be 
tried with fire, might be found unto praise and 
honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 
And once more we read in the 5. chapter : "But 
the God of all grace, who has called us unto His 
eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have 
suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, 
strengthen, settle you." 

If, therefore, we firmly believe that we here have 
to undergo ills which last but "a little while," we 
will be cheered even in sorrows. Hence it behooves 
us to trust implicitly in our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, knowing that His Word i& true, though 
misfortune and affliction overwhelm us for " a little 
while ;" then will we be comforted in sorrows, even 
as a woman is comforted in travail by the thought 
that God will soon turn her pain into pleasure by 
the sight of the child which is born. We cannot 
have real joy and gladness without preceding pain 
and sorrow. Our reason may attempt to persuade 
us that such afflictions are certainly proofs of God's 
displeasure and indifference toward us, but we must- 
not heed such insinuations; they are false. A 
woman in travail must have sorrow and anguish, 
else the new man cannot be born into this world. 
Thus God sends us afflictions that we may find a 
rescue from them, and then much gladness of heart. 

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The Lord most cheering! y tells His disciples 
what manner of joy awaits them in u a little while." 
He says : "I. will see you again." This promise 
was fulfilled on Easter, when He did appear unto 
them in a new life glorified. Thus He appears 
unto us, and our hearts are glad, when we remem- 
ber His death and resurrection, His victory over 
sin, death and hell in our behalf, so that we through 
Him might live evermore. This is true, unalloyed 
and everlasting joy, which turns away all sorrow 
and which cannot be taken away. 

Let us therefore not be impatient or unbelieving 
when affliction comes, but let us hold fast to the 
comfortable assurance that though we suffer, it will 
be but for "a little while." Christ has arisen and 
sitteth at the right hand of the Father to check the 
devil with his tribulations and to make us happy 
for ever and for ever. God grant us this blessing 
through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ. Amen. 

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John 16, 5-15. But now I go my way to Him that sent me; and 
none of yon asketli me, Whither goest Thou? But because I have 
said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Neverthe- 
less [ tell you the truth ; it is expedient for you that I go away : for 
if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I 
depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will 
reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment : of 
sin, because they believe not on me ; of righteousness, because I go to 
my Father, and ye see me no more ; of judgment, because the prince 
of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but 
ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is 
come, He will guide you into all truth : for He shall not speak of Him- 
self; but whatsoever He shall bear, that shall He speak : and He will 
shew you things to come. He shall glorify me : for He shall receive 
of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath 
are mine : therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew 
it unto you. 

lyfljlshis is a delightful Gospel. It treats especially 
f^||f of that chief and all-important article of our 
faith from which we have our name Christians. 
Therefore we cannot sufficiently learn this lesson, 
though we hear it once a year ; if it is to produce 
in our hearts a faith that is firm and fruitful, we 
must hear it often and practice it diligently. 

This Gospel, like the one of last Sunday, is filled 
with words of consolation, which the Lord addressed 
to His disciples at the table, on that memorable 
evening before He was betrayed and made a captive. 
He now desired above all to prepare His disciples 
for the coming tribulation, so that they might not 
be offended at His pitiable, disgraceful death, but 

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might know what great blessings would result 
therefrom, and that thus they might be comforted. 

Therefore, as they were cheered in the Gospel of 
one week ago with the declaration that their sor- 
rows and tribulations would be but for a little 
while, after which eternal happiness should come, 
so they are strengthened in the text of to-day by 
the explanation of the necessity and importance of 
the death of their Lord and Master. 

He says : "But now I go my way to Him that 
sent me ; that is : To-morrow I shall be crucified 
and put to death, and yet no one among you asks 
me whither I go or why this takes place, but because 
I told you of it, your hearts are filled with sadness. 
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth ; it is expedient 
for you that I go away;" it is done for your wel- 
fare. , "For if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come unto you," and the power of darkuess 
will retain its sufay. "But if I depart I will send 
the Holy Ghost unto you." Christ wants us to 
learn and to know this, in order that His sufferings 
may neither offend nor frighteu us, but may be unto 
us a source of consolation, since we know that by 
them the influence and tyranny of the devil was 
broken and the Holy Spirit was given and imparted 
unto us. 

The Lord explains still further what the Holy 

Ghost would accomplish, what He would bring and 

teach us : "He will reprove the world of sin, and of 

righteousness, and of judgment." Indeed a great 

task, so vast that its execution seems impossible. 

Not merely one school, or one village, or one city, 

or even several of them, but the whole world shall 

come under the influence and reproof of the Holy 

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Spirit. It must in truth be a mighty power which 
can accomplish such a task, and it must be sure of 
the necessary support. To the world belong all the 
descendants of Adam, emperors, kings and princes. 
All these are included among the number of those 
whom the Holy Ghost, through the preaching of 
the apostles and other ministers, is to reprove and 
admonish. He tells them: Ye are all sinners; not 
one of you is just or wise, whether you live in Jeru- 
salem or in Rome, whether you are of high or low 
degree ; you must all learn true wisdom of me, or 
not one of you will be saved. If you despise my 
teachings, you shall all go to hell, just as you. are, 
with your entire baggage of self-righteousness, of 
holiness and good works. Thus, says Christ t6 His 
disciples, will the Holy Spirit execute His office of 
reproving the whole world through you y the poor 
and despised preachers of the Gospel. 

This reproof, however, is no idle sound, but dread 
reality. Christ says : "He will reprove the world 
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." 
What now, if there is in the world no righteousness, 
no judgment, nothing but sin — what shall become 
of us ? Hence the reproof of the Holy Ghost is for 
the world a terrible shock; we hear that we are 
the devil's own, with all our good works, and that 
Ave cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless 
the Holy Ghost removes .our sins, makes us right- 
eous, and frees us from judgment. Many passages 
in the Scriptures are of similar import. Thus St. 
Paul says: "God has concluded all under sin;" and 
again : "We were by nature children of wrath/' 
Christ also says: "Unless a man be born again he 
cannot enter into the kingdom of God." With 

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such words and declarations the Holy Ghost reproves 
the world of sin. 

What is sin ? Is it to steal, to murder, to commit 
adultery, and the like ? Yea, these are indeed sins, 
but they are not those which are most prevalent 
and most grave. Many persons are not guilty of 
,these manifest sins ; but of that chief sin of which 
the Holy Ghost reproves the world, no one is free, 
else the Holy Ghost could not reprove the whole 
world. This great sin is the unbelief of the world, 
the refusal to believe in Jesus Christ. Nor does 
the world know anything of this sin before the 
Holy Ghost reproves the people of it through His 
teachings; the world considers only such deeds 
sinful as are contrary to the second table of the 
law. It knows nothing of Christ, and much less is 
it aware of the sin of not believing in Him. But 
we need not talk of the world in this regard ; we 
find many among the Christians who do not con- 
sider unbelief a sin, much less an original sin. No 
one but the Holy Ghost can teach the world that 
unbelief is sin ; He reproves all as sinnera, no mat- 
ter how some may attempt to cover up their faults 
hy good works or to pass themselves off as pure 
under the tinsel of self-righteousness. 

The Holy Ghost, therefore, preaches this truth 
that all men, without an exception, are sinners and 
cannot of themselves believe in Christ. This is, of 
course, strange preaching for the world. The 
world of itself is perfectly ignorant of the duty of 
having faith in Christ, the Son of man. Men sup- 
pose that they have fulfilled their duty if they can 
say with the Pharisee, Luke 18, that they are no 
murderers, no adulterers and no unjust persons. 

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But the Holy Ghost teaches otherwise and tells 
man : I know that this one or that one may lead 
an outwardly upright life, but still the great sin of 
unbelief nestles deep down in the heart of every 
one. If we are not reproved of this sin by the Holy 
Ghost, we will never discover it. 

We must then infer from this that "every thing 
not concluded in faith is sin/' whether it be monas-* 
tic vows, or prayers, fastings, and giving of alms. 
Wherever faith in Christ is wanting, there the Holy 
Ghost must come with His reproof. There is no 
other way to be relieved from this sin but to believe 
in Christ Jesus the Saviour. 

This is an overwhelming truth, and yet the Pope 
with his followers attempt to gainsay it. When 
they cannot remove the text itself, they say that it 
speaks ($e Jide formata per caritatem, that is, of faith 
as formed by love. But this is a false interpreta- 
tion of the text. Christ evidently speaks here of 
the great sin of unbelief in Him. Therefore, though 
there are ever so many works of love performed by 
man, if faith in Christ is wanting they will avail 
nothing, and he who performs them is nevertheless 
a sinner whom the Holy Ghost reproves on account 
of his sins. 

Unbelief is therefore the principal sin, from which 
all transgressions take their origin. Wherever un- 
belief dwells, there faith in Christ is banished, and 
the result is that His Word is rejected; it is either 
treated with contempt or regarded as heresy and 
falsehood and therefore persecuted as if it were the 
word of the devil. From this other great evils 
spring : disobedience towards parents and those in 

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authority, neglect in the fulfillment of the duties of 
one's office and calling, indulgence in all kinds of 
lasciviousness and lawlessness; although a few, 
perhaps, may lead an unblamable life before men 
from fear of detection and of scandal. Such are 
the blossoms and fruits of this tree of unbelief; its 
growth is immense and cannot be checked except 
by the power of the Holy Ghost. Whosoever does 
not believe in Christ has not the Holy Ghost and 
cannot have a single good thought; and if per- 
chance he performs some work not evil in itself, 
and proper, he does this in slavish fear and not 
from true, earnest obedience to God's Word. The 
world is consequently the devil's household, devoid 
of every thing good in word and in deed. It cannot 
be otherwise, since unbelief is the source of all evil. 

We can therefore very appropriately describe the 
world as a crowd of men on earth who do not be- 
lieve in Christ, but abuse and despise His Word, 
who internally and externally, with thoughts, words 
and deeds, kill, steal, rob, and practice all manner 
of wickedness, often abusing for this purpose the 
blessings and merciful gifts of God. 

Christ in our text instructs His apostles, and all 
ministers of His Word, to battle against such in- 
iquity, powerfully to reprove the world of sin by 
telling it unceasingly, as long as time lasts, that it 
has no part in the kingdom of Christ, because it 
does not believe in Him, but is assuredly the devil's 
property, not so much on account of outward, gross 
sins as on account of the source of all sin, unbelief. 
We cannot remedy this by becoming monks, nor 
by many good works, for as long as unbelief remains 
in our hearts we are accursed sinners beyond all 

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hope of redemption. The only remedy in this our 
desperate condition is to thrust aside our unbelief, 
to have faith in Christ, and in Him alone to find 
consolation against sin and death. 

You have often heard, my beloved, what is meant 
by "faith." It is not simply a knowledge of Christ, 
nor a mere assent to the truth of His Word, but an 
earnest confidence in our hearts that what He did 
for the world was done actually for us, for our sal- 
vation. The devil knows well enough that Christ 
died, and his belief in this regard is as strong as 
that of the Papists ; but he does not believe that 
this death occurred for him also and for his benefit. 
The Holy Ghost alone has the power to produce in 
the heart the confidence in Christ which accepts 
Him as a Saviour. Whosoever has not this faith, 
nor believes that Christ died for him to save him 
from sin and eternal death, is not a Christian and 
remains a sinner, even if he tortures himself to 
death with his so-called good works. 

When thus the Holy Ghost reproves the world 
of. sin, He makes it manifest that everything in us 
is sin, and that we with all our good works and 
saintly life are after all in the sight of God naught 
but miserable, accursed sinners, if we do not believe 
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore away with all 
hoods, tonsures, orders, and all similar human in- 
strumentalities devised to obtain forgiveness of sins! 
It is a contradiction to say that Christ died for us^ 
and at the same time to wear a cowl or to perform 
this or that work for the purpose of becoming pious 
and entering heaven. He who does not heed the 
reproof of the Holy Ghost, and does not accept 
Christ, evidently demonstrates thereby that he does 

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not regard himself as a sinner and that he has no 
faith in the Lord. 

Again it is the office of the Comforter to "reprove 
the world of righteousness." This is also a hard 
saying. Sin the world has, that we know, but 
piety and righteousness it has none, nor does it 
know where or how to obtain them. What then is 
meant by this term "righteousness ?" The world 
has indeed laws and tribunals of justice; even the 
old heathens had appropriate legislation and insti- 
tutions in regard to civil duties and the execution 
of their laws. Surely, it cannot be wrong to inflict 
punishment upon thieves and murderers. Is not 
all this very just and proper? 

Christ answers thus: Call the regulations of this 
life as you will, only call them not righteousness, 
which would be false; for here is not meant the 
righteousness of the jurists, but that indicated in 
the words : "Because I go to my Father and ye see 
me no more." This is an intricate expression, 
more difficult to be understood than the one in 
regard to our being sinners because we do not 
believe in Christ, and surely this is difficult enough 
for our natural man to comprehend. We suppose 
that we have within us natural powers which enable 
us to worship properly, to prepare ourselves for the 
reception of pardon, and to pray for it aright. 
Such supposition makes it even now impossible for 
the Papists to understand this declaration concern- 
ing faith in Clmst. But still more incomprehensi- 
ble is this expression concerning "righteousness." 
It declares that we are then pleasing in the sight 
of God when Christ goeth to the Father and we see 

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Him no more. And yet this statement is beautiful 
and forcible. 

Why should we then laud or mention our works? 
Christ distinctly says in our text, that we cannot 
become righteous by virtue of our own exertions, 
but only because "He went to the Father." Here 
we find true righteousness. The world knows 
nothing of it, since the writings of men do not at 
all allude to it. We are taught by the wisdom of 
this world that if we keep the ten commandments, 
observe the laws of the land, and lead an honest, 
upright life, we are surely good, just and honorable 
people. In our text, however, we find nothing of 
all this, nothing of our own works ; Christ speaks 
alone of what He does, of His work, that He. goes 
to the Father and we see Him no more. This deed 
of Christ, and nothing else, is our righteousness. 

If, then, we desire to be truly pious we must not 
rely o» our works. It avails nothing if we become 
monks, and fast and watch and pray ; but this avails 
everything, that we desire to be freed from our 
sins, and know and believe that Christ went to the 
Father in our behalf. How is it then with fasting, 
with prayers and good works — are they of no value 
at all? Good works are right and proper; we 
ought not to neglect them, inasmuch as God or- 
dered them in the law ; but they can never justify 
us or make us pleasing in the sight of God. Christ's 
going to the Father is the one and only cause of 
our redemption and justification, and we must look 
for no other. 

This going of Christ to the Father includes His 
suffering and cruel death upon the cross, His ascen- 
sion into heaven, and His sitting at the right hand 

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^ CANTATE. 361 

of God. We do not see this, but we believe it, and 
this precious fact makes* us just. We have no 
righteousness in ourselves, but Christ becomes our 
righteousness because He goes to the Father ; or in 
plain language : No one becomes righteous, blessed 
or free from sin, but through the sufferings and 
death and resurrection of Christ. Such force has 
the going of Christ to the Father. 

Hence it is plain that the Papists teach falsely 
when they say that good works are necessary to 
salvation. It is right enough to demand of a 
Christian an upright life and good works, but to 
say that thereby we are justified and made righteous 
is a pernicious falsehood. Our text says distinctly 
that the going of Christ unto the Father brings 
true righteousness. The world knows nothing of 
this ; the Holy Ghost alone teaches it. 

When the Papists quote the expression of Christ : 

"If thou wouldst enter into eternal life keep the 

commandments," they misapprehend its meaning, 

and only prove that they do not understand what 

it means to keep the commandments of God. It is 

an indisputable fact that righteousness and eternal 

life were established by the departure of Christ 

from this world unto the Father, and they come 

from no other source. Nor shall the devil rob us 

of this conviction. He may perchance cause us 

fear and disquietude of conscience on account of 

our natural weakness and sinfulness, but he cannot 

deprive us of our hope and faith in Christ who 

went the way of perfect obedience to the Father, so 

that we might have righteousness in Him. This 

assurance cannot be overthrown by the devil ; he 

may indeed hold up to us our sins, but all his 

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accusations will avail nought if we have in true 
faith Christ as our Saviour. Let this ever be our 
chief cousolation. 

But faith is here absolutely necessary. The great 
work of Christ is perfect, and it devolves upon us 
to apply it to ourselves by faith. If we believe, we 
have the benefits of this work ; if we are unbeliev- 
ing, it avails us nothing. Once for all : Our right- 
eousness, if true, comes to us from without, from 
Christ and His meritorious death. This truth 
makes the heart firm, otherwise, if we had to de- 
pend upon our own merits and works, upon our 
penitence and penance, as the Papists teach, we 
would never be secure, and would have to live in 
constant dread of punishment. How indeed could 
we know when our repentance, our confessions, 
and penitential tasks are sufficient? Therefore 
Christ took from us the burden of this suffering 
and bore it upon His own shoulders, so that we can 
now implicitly depend upon it that His sufferings 
and His death are our righteousness. The Son of 
God Himself performs the work ordained of the 
Father unto our redemption from sin and death ; 
He is the Lamb of God, as St. John speaks of Him; 
He is God Almighty, and therefore there is no 
room to doubt the efficiency of His work of salva- 

Thus we learn, my beloved, how peremptorily 
this text cuts oft* all hope of meriting righteousness 
by our own achievements, since it consists entirely 
in the going of Christ unto the Father. When 
once this righteousness is ours by faith, let us then 
endeavor, as much as possible, to do good works, 
and let us strive with all our might to, be obedient 

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to God. But we will never be enabled to do even 
one good work if we have no true faith in Christ 
in our hearts, and if we lack confidence in His 
merits ; for then our hearts are yet wicked and im- 
pure, and we have no forgiveness of sins because 
we have no faith. 

The righteousness of the Christian is therefore a 
peculiar one and not understood of men, unless it 
is taught and revealed by the Holy Ghost. And 
even when thus revealed, it cannot be compre- 
hended by our reason, but must be embraced by 
faith. When Christ says: "I go to my Father, 
and ye see me no more," He requires faith, else His 
words would have no meaning. The Christian's 
righteousness must be taught by the Holy Ghost ; 
the righteousness of the world, however, can be 
exhibited by philosophers, by the secular govern- 
ment, by lawyers, by father and mother, andby all 
in authority. The Christian learns that everything 
without faith is evil, while the true, eternal right- 
eousness is founded upon the departure of Christ to 
the Father, where we see Him not, but still have 
Him through faith as our Lord and Saviour. 

Finally, our text tells us, that the Holy Ghost 
"will reprove the world of judgment/' Christ ex- 
plains fully what judgment is meant in this connec- 
tion when He further states that "the prince of this 
world is judged." As the Holy Ghost reproves the 
world of sin because it does not believe in Christ, 
and of righteousness because it will not accept the 
comfortable fact that Christ went unto the Father, 
so He also reproves it "of judgment" because of- its 
ignorance and fear in this regard, which is all its 

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own fault, since it will neither accept nor faithfully 
heed the Gospel of Christ. It is indeed a most dis- 
tressing calamity to have sin and no righteousness, 
to be without consolation amid sin, death and every 
kind of misfortune. 

To this fearful calamity Christ refers when He 
declares that it shall be the office of the Holy Spirit 
to preach concerning judgment, and to make known 
to all men the fact that "the prince of this world is 
judged," and has no longer the power to harm them 
who believe in Christ aud depend on His going to 
the Father. The "prince of the world," for such 
he still is, may indeed, here and there, attack with 
his temptations and snares the believers, but he 
shall not prevail against them; he is judged; his 
stronghold and his panoply are wrenched from him, 
and he himself is bound, as St. Peter says, in the 
chains of darkness. Christ accomplished this over- 
throw; therefore Christians need no longer tremble 
before this prince and his power in the world ; he 
is judged and has lost his authority. 

The unbelievers are not aware of this. Some- 
times they may make a start to become Christians 
and to believe, but if the world 1 on that account 
begins to frown on them, they are frightened and 
fall away, as Christ explains in the parable of the 
seed upon the rock. With the Christians it is 
different ; they hold fast in faith to the Gospel and 
heed intently the admonition of the Holy Ghost, 
not to fear, nor to despair in the agony and woe of 
sin, because the prince of this world is judged and 
is deprived of his supremacy. Another and mightier 
Lord is now in power, even Christ, who vanquished 
and chained the prince of this world. Be therefore 

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not disturbed nor frightened if this dethroned 
potentate and god of the world scowls, and gnashes 
his teeth, and champs, and threatens like a fiend; 
he is as impotent in his rage as a dog that furiously 
barks and dashes his chains to the right and to the 
left, eagerly intent to thrust his fangs into the 
limbs of the passer-by, who easily avoids the rush 
by stepping to one side of the mad but fettered 
beast. Just so the devil barks and rages against 
the Christians, but he is chained and cannot injure 
them if they have faith in Christ and are constant 
in prayer. But if we forget this and become care- 
less, we are in danger of injury, or, at least, of great 
consternation by this hellhound, who, though in 
chains and unable to bite, can yet greatly terrify 
those who heedlessly approach him ; for cross dogs 
do not always bark, but are also quiet at times, with 
evil intent. 

They who have the office to preach the Word, 
and in the name of the Holy Ghost to reprove the 
world of sin and of righteousness, ought to cling 
firmly to this assurance, that the prince of this 
world is judged. The world cannot at all endure 
.to be reproved of sin ; people become enraged when 
told that they are sinners and devoid of righteous- 
ness. If then we come with our reproof, as it is 
our duty, the world begins to rage and howl in* a 
perfect fit of frenzy. Were it not for the testimony 
of the Holy Ghost concerning the judgment of "the 
prince of this world," we preachers would often be 
frighteued by such manifestations of the devil and 
would hold our peace. The term "Paracletus," 
which means a comforter, a helper, belongs there- 
fore of right to the Holy Ghost. He cheers the 

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hearts in tribulations and danger, and makes them 
strong to hear and heed the fact that "the prince of 
this world is judged." 

This then we consider to be the office of the Holy 
Ghost on earth, aud the import of His preaching 
and instruction. Nor is there any doubt that he 
who refuses to accept this preaching and instruction 
as the best and most valuable treasure on earth, 
and would not give up his own life rather than to 
lose this boon, is no Christian. Life and property 
are temporal gifts, but this treasure is everlasting ; 
it conveys to us eternal life. St. Paul says: "The 
Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation 
to every one that believeth." We cught therefore 
greatly to rejoice at the going of Christ to the 
Father, of which He speaks in the text, and give 
thanks unto God continually, with the earnest 
prayer that He may mercifully retain in us this 
knowledge and increase it day by day, so that we 
may be freed from sin and be made partakers of 
eternal righteousness, and, finally, that we may be 
comforted in the assurance that the prince of this 
world is judged. 

After having concluded His statement in regwd 
to the office of the Comforter, Christ continues : "I 
have yet many things to say unto you, but ye can- 
not bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit 
of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." 

You are aware, my hearers, how the Papists per- 
ve.'t this expression when they pretend to prove by 
it their innovations and institutions, saying that 
the Holy Ghost was their author, and that Christ 
in this passage prophesied of such work. This is 
all a most glaring falsehood. 

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On the contrary, Christ would say in this pas- 
sage : You, my disciples, have now heard of the 
office and functions of the Holy Ghost. Concern- 
ing this I have yet much to say unto you, but you 
are unable to comprehend it now ; you must learn 
it by experience. For the Holy Spirit will also 
guide you into all truth and protect you from false 
and damnable doctrine. Without such guidance 
of the Holy Spirit it easily happens that we depart 
from the truth, that we neglect the Word and sud- 
denly fall into grievous error. 

Arius picked out one or two passages and made 
them the basis of his heresy, while he, on the other 
hand, disregarded the many plain and convincing 
testimonies concerning Christ. The Anabaptists 
take as proof for their doctrine the command of 
Christ : "Go, teach and baptize all nations." They 
say that if instruction should precede baptism, as 
this passage implies, then of course infant baptism 
is wrong, for it does not admit of instruction pre- 
ceding baptism. It is however evident that the 
command to teach prior to baptism has reference 
only to adults. A similar perversion of the text 
occurred in regard to the Lord's Supper. The 
plain words of Christ were set aside, while certain 
confused and dubious expressions of the fathers 
were highly esteemed as decisive. Surely, error is 
speedily upon us if the Holy Ghost does not guide 
us into all truth. 

Christ also sajs : "The Comforter will show you 
things to come." This prophesying is another 
function of the Holy Spirit, and we have many 
examples of its application in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles. But the Holy Ghost "shall also glorify me," 

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continues Christ. With this declaration the Lord 
assures the disciples, and all believers, that their 
hearts shall be tilled with a knowledge of God, 
whereby they will be strengthened to undergo all 
sufferings and joyfully to brave every danger for 
His sake. Such is the work of the Holy Ghost, 
which indeed cannot be fully understood if experi- 
ence in faith is wanting. Christ therefore tells the 
disciples that for the present it suffices them to be 
encouraged in tribulation and to rejoice at His go- 
ing to the Father; for then would come the Holy 
Spirit, the Comforter, to reprove the world of sin, 
to bring true righteousness and an assurance of 
eternal life. 

These lessons we learn from the Gospel for this 
Sunday. May God, our Father, through Christ 
Jesus, send the Holy Spirit into our hearts, there 
to begin and to complete the work of salvation! 


by Google 



John 16, 23-30. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye 
shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. Hitherto have 
ye asked nothing in my name : ask, and ye shall receive, that your 
joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: 
but the time corneth, when I shall no more speak unto you in prov-* 
erbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye 
shall ask in my name : and I say not unto you, that I will pray the 
Father for you : for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have 
loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth 
from the Father, and am come into the world : again, I leave the 
world, and go to the Father. • His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now 
speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure 
that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should 
ask Thee : by this we believe that Thou earnest forth from God. 

[n the Gospel to-day we have, as you, my be- 
jloved, have just heard, an exhortation to prayer. 
To pray is a part of Christian worship, secondary 
only to the preaching of the Word. This exhorta- 
tion to prayer was made by the Lord at the supper 
of the same evening on which He told His disciples, 
while sitting with them at the table, as we saw in 
the sermon of two weeks ago, that He would depart 
from them, that they would be sad, but that in a 
little while He would see them again and that then 
their sorrow would be turned into joy. With this 
promise the Lord combines the admonition to 
prayer, as it is contained in our text; and indeed 
the connection of the two is very obvious ; for the 
Christian has no other resort or co^nfort in sorrow 
and tribulation than to pray earnestly and con- 
stantly to his heavenly Father for help. 

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The Lord would teach us in the words of our 
Gospel, as He did His disciples then, never to forget 
prayer in the hour of distress. To encourage them 
to this He adds the comforting declaration : "And 
I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for 
you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because 
ye have loved me, and have believed that I came 
out from God." It is true, Christ sitteth at the 
right hand of the Father and intercedes for us, as 
'the apostle Paul says. Therefore we know that 
His intercession for us, both on the occasion of the 
last supper and afterwards upon the cross, has been 
effective and will continue to be so until the end of 
time. But you need not my intercession in your 
behalf, says Christ, for you yourselves have access 
to the Father with your prayers, and ought not to 
doubt that they are heard, for the Father Himself 
loveth you, because ye have loved me. Yet from 
this it does not follow that the intercession of Christ 
is not of importance and full of comfort unto us, 
but simply this is meant, that we should have assur- 
ance respecting our own prayers because we love 
Christ. It is God's will, and we ought ever to know 
and remember it, that they who love Christ and 
trust in Him are beloved of the Father and will be 
heard by Him. It is therefore evident that the 
godless Papists lie when they direct us to trust in 
the intercession of the saints. 

This exhortation and invitation to prayer by the 
Lord Himself is consolatory beyond measure. Our 
Lord and Saviour Christ made it possible for us, by 
His death and, departure from this world to the 
Father, to have free access unto God, whether we 
be in church or at home, in the cellar or in the 

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ROGATE. 371 

kitchen, in the field or in the workshop ; yea, if we 
are Christians and love Christ, we can under All 
circumstances of life come with our prayer unto our 
heavenly Father and pour out our hearts before Him. 

All that is necessary for such prayer is for the 
heart to exclaim : Father in heaven, I know Thou 
lovest me because I love Thy dear Son, my Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ, wherefore I come with 
my requests to Thee in confidence and assurance, 
not indeed because I am good or righteous, but 
because I know that for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus 
Christ,Thou wilt accept of me and give me all that 
I need. In His name I now appear before Thee 
and pray, fully convinced that Thou wilt not con- 
sider my unworthiness, but wilt graciously hear my 

It would be a serious mistake for the Christian 
to refrain from prayer until he could deem himself 
worthy and fit for it. The devil frequently troubled 
me with thoughts such as these : I am not now 
ready to pray; I ought first to attend to this or 
that and afterwards perform my prayer undisturbed. 
If we indulge such thoughts which hinder and pre- 
vent prayer, we will always find something new in 
the way, and in the end will be entirely prayerless. 
The devil with his cunning tricks constantly en- 
deavors to keep us away from prayer. 

We must therefore be prepared to meet his oppo- 
sition in this regard ; and when troubles come we 
should know that now is the proper time for prayer. 
If we are not worthy to pray, God will make us so. 
He loves us for Christ's sake, and not on account 
of our own worthiness or righteousness, for we have 
none. This we fully believe. 

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Christ, in the words of our text, would urge us 
on to prayer, that we might not be like those pray- 
erless, wicked people who, as they declare, eat and 
drink with much relish, though they have not 
prayed for a week. If we are Christians, or desire 
to be such, we must shun such brutish conduct. 
Let us, at least, pray in the morning when we arise 
from sleep, at the table, and again in the evening 
when we go to bed, saying : "Our Father who art 
in heaven," &c. 

It is our duty as Christians to pray without ceas- 
ing, if not aloud, which is sometimes impossible, at 
least in our hearts. It should at all times be the 
earnest desire of all believing hearts that God's 
name be hallowed, that His kingdom come and His 
will be done on earth, also that He may grant peace 
to the country, favorable weather, health, and the 
like. Every true Christian wishes for such bless- 
ings every day of his life, even if he does not always 
give expression to his desires. Such prayer is true, 
earnest and spiritual ; we stand constantly in need 
of it on account of the great dangers which ever 
surround the Christian on all sides, so that we are 
never safe from the devil, from our flesh and blood, 
from sin and shame. 

But oral prayer must not be neglected ; it ought 
to accompany these silent utterances of the heart. 
Christ teaches us here of what kind such prayer 
should be ; He say : "Ye shall ask the Father in 
my name," and again: "The Father Himself loveth 
you, because ye have loved me, and have believed 
that I came out from God." Whosoever believeth 
in Christ is a real priest with all priestly honors 
and dignity, so that he can assuredly come with his 

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ROGATE. 373 

prayer unto God to ask Him for help in reference 
to his own want or that of his fellow-men, saying 
unto Him : Lord I stand in need of this and my . 
brother of that, grant us our prayer and give us ■ 
what we need, for the sake of Christ, Thy well- 
beloved Son. 

The times in which we now live are full of dis- 
tress and well calculated, on account of the daily 
sorrow which they bring, to teach us the importance 
of prayer; if we but heeded the lesson and were 
more instant in prayer, it would be well for us. 
For indeed the devil, that liar and murderer, is 
very busy ; be endeavors to crush out the Word of 
God with his falsehoods, and strives to arouse sedi- 
tions throughout the land, with murder and rapine. 
The Pope and the Turk, and other tyrants, are all 
fiercely opposed to the Word, so that we all have 
enough public calamity to urge us on to prayer, 
even if our own private sorrow would not do it. 
Yea, there are causes enough, within us and around 
us, to convince us of the great necessity of prayer. 
If we are perplexed amid so great a variety of com- 
plaints, sorrows and wants which demand our 
prayer, let us make good use of the Lord's Prayer 
with its seven petitions, w T hich include everything 
for which we ought to pray. 

Short Exposition of the Lord's Prayer. 

In the first petition, "Hallowed be Thy name," 
we pray for all faithful preachers, but against all 
heretics and unbelievers, also against the Jews, the 
heathens, the Turk and the Pope ; for these blas- 
pheme and abuse the name of God. We pray God 
to resist these His enemies, and to grant us pious 

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preachers, who will proclaim His Word in its purity 
to the overthrow of all heresy. 

In the second petition, "Thy kingdom come," we 
pray that the kingdom of death and the devil may 
fall. This is a very comprehensive petition; it 
deals with the entire domain of Satan, and requests 
God to make an end to it and to establish in us and 
others His own kingdom, by means of His Word 
and the Holy Ghost. 

In the third petition, "Thy will be done on earth 
as it is done in heaven," we pray that every will 
opposed to the good and gracious will of God may 
be prevented in its execution. The devil and the 
wicked are wroth against this petition ; it prevents 
much calamity, which they would cause every day 
of our lifej if it were not for this prayer. 

In the fourth petition, "Give us this day our 
daily bread," we pray for those in authority, for 
our parents, for our family, for the necessary food 
and the fruits of the field, for peace and all things 
pertaining to the support of our life, also that God 
would bless each one in his vocation and protect 
him mercifully from all harm. 

In the fifth petition, "Forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us," we 
pray that God would be merciful to and avert from 
us His well-merited wrath, that He would not pun- 
ish us on account of our sins, but bestow on us His 
grace that we may become better from day to day, 
do His will, and live peaceably with our fellow- 
men, ready to forgive one another our trespasses. 

In the sixth petition, "Lead us not into tempta- 
tion," we pray that God would cheer with His con- 
solation all afflicted hearts and rescue them from 

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ROGATE. 375 

their sorrows through His Word and the Holy 
Spirit, thus thwartiug the intention and power of 
the devil. 

In the seventh petition, "Deliver us from evil," 
we pray for a peaceful departure from this world of 
misery, and for a happy entrance through the mercy 
of God into heaven above. 

Thus we see how beautifully everything that we 
possibly need is included in the Lord's Prayer. Its 
petitions contain nothing of which .we do not have 
need every day of our life. Wants we have plenty; 
first those of a public nature, > then those which are 
private and pertain to each one's household and 
vocation. Therefore we have reason enough to 
pray, and if we do not, our negligence and unbelief 
is to blame. We have the distinct command to 
pray, as well as the promise that our prayer shall 
be heard. Christ even gives us of His own accord 
a proper form of expressing our wishes before God. 
This form is the Lord's Prayer, of which we have 
just spoken. 

We must confess that we are poor sinners, un- 
worthy to appear before God and to converse with 
Him, and that we have no claim whatever upon 
His kindness ; this is mo3t certainly true. But in 
order that this conviction might not discourage us 
or prevent, us from praying, Christ says here ex- 
plicitly that we should "pray in His name," and 
adds : "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my 
name, He will give it you." Here we are taught 
that the whole service of prayer and supplication 
must rest upon Christ ; therefore every prayer not 
made in the name of Jesus is no true prayer, nor a 
service before God. The prayer of the monk, that 

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God would be merciful unto him on account of the 
merits, fastings and devotions of Saint Francis or 
of Saint Dominic, or of any other saint, is no prayer 
at all, but only fruitless babbling; for it is not 
offered up in the name of Christ, but in that ot 
poor, miserable mortals. 

Similar is the prayer of the heathens, of the 
Turks, of the Jews, yea of all the Papists. They 
refuse to pray in the name of Christ alone and add 
that of the virgin Mary, of the apostles and other 
saints. God does not accept such idolatrous prayer; 
it is not efficacious. Even if they obtain what they 
request in such prayers, it is no blessing unto them, 
aud it would be much better for them if their wishes 
had not been realized. 

Christians do not pray in their own name ; they 
kuow what appellation belongs to them according 
to the Scriptures, namely, children of wrath and 
liars ; therefore they are ashamed to make use of 
their own name when they pray unto God. But 
because they know that God is merciful in Christ, 
and because they have the command to pray in 
Jesus' name, therefore they are bold to come to 
God and to make known their requests, although 
they know themselves to be nought but poor sin- 
ners. They venture to say: Our heavenly Father, 
we, Thy children, need now this, now that; be 
merciful and remember not against us our iniquities, 
but look upon Christ Thy Son, our Saviour ; in His 
name we now approach Thee ; therefore hear our 
prayer. When our supplication is thus made en- 
tirely in the name of Christ, it is acceptable and 
will be heard ; it is yea and amen in Christ. This 
knowledge ought to make us ready and quick to. 

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ROGATE. 377 

prayer, for we are told that what we pray in the 
name of Jesus shall penetrate the heavens, even to 
the throne of God, who will grant our requests. 

To this promise Christ adds the following words: 
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name*" 
That is to say: Thus far the disciples depended 
upon Him as people sometimes depend on their 
priests, whom they expect to pray for them, think- 
ing that they themselves need not do it. But this 
shall hereafter be phanged ; Christ says : "Ask, and 
ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." This 
injunction we ought diligently to consider, that we 
may act in accordance with it. Sorrow, tribulation 
and depression will come ; if we would overcome 
these we must pray as Christ commands, and believe 
that what we ask in His name shall be granted to 
us, if consistent with the glory of God and service- 
able to our souls' salvation. 

One thing we lack, as St. Paul remarks : "We 
know not what to ask for, nor how to ask." Hence 
it happens that people often pray to God for relief 
from this or that tribulation, without obtaining the 
relief implored ; for God knows better than we do 
what is proper and good for us. St. Paul prayed 
to God to take from liim his tribulation, but is an- 
swered, 2 Cor. 12 : "My grace is sufficient for thee : 
for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 

Thus it happens to us. We sometimes desire to 
be exempt from this or that suffering; but God 
sees what is beneficial for us, and does not x*emove 
the burden from our shoulders, else we would be- 
come overbearing, proud and careless. Ere we 
therefore pray for our daily bread we should say : 
Lord, Thy will be done. Christ Himself at the 

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mount of Olives prays thus : "Father, not my will, 
but Thine, be done." We should always pray in a 
similar spirit of resignation to God's will, nothing 
doubting that He will give us whatever tends to 
His glory and our eternal welfare. 

One other fault we have in this regard. Beyond 
all doubt God will hear us and grant a fulfillment 
of our petitions, if offered up in the name of His 
Son, Jesus Christ; but the manner and the time of 
His intervention and help is not designated. If 
now it happens that our plans do not succeed, our 
reason, our flesh and blood, cause despondency 
within our hearts, and we are ready to despair. 
So also, when our hopes are not fulfilled in just so 
many hours or days, in which, according to our 
calculation, we ought to have relief, we think that 
our prayer has been in vain. This twofold tempta- 
tion is dangerous and very apt to weaken our faith. 
We must therefore cling firmly to God's Word, 
and await His help, which is promised us in the 
name of Christ, and which will surely come to pass, 
though perhaps later than we thought and in a 
different way. God alone knows the proper time 
and occasion ; He is called AdjtUor in opportunitate" 
a Helper in good time. This time, however, we 
must not attempt to calculate for Him according to 
our own wishes and feelings, but must leave its 
determination to His wisdom and love. We are 
entirely too impatient, and hence, when suffering 
comes, it will always seem to us that God delays 
too long with His assistance. Such thoughts are 
the same as if we would say : We know better than 
God when the time for help has come. Let ua 
avoid such faithless self-conceit; let us trust im- 

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ROGATE. 379 

plicitly the promise that God, for the sake of Christ 
Jesus, His Son, will be gracious unto us and deliver 
us from evil at the proper time. 

Such is Christian prayer, of which we stand in 
constant need, as shown above. In it we have true 
consolation and good cheer, for Christ says : "Ask, 
and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." 
Where prayer is wanting, there no true happiness 
exists, but always misery, fear and sorrow. 

We have had frequent occasion, during the past 
years, to experience the efficacy of prayer. With- 
out it we could not resist the enmity of the Pope 
and other adversaries ; they would long since have 
wiped us out of existence. But now, because prayer 
prevails, he and all the tyrants who rage against 
the Church are continually repulsed. Let us, there- 
fore, whose office it is to preach the Word, be un- 
wearied in preaching, and let all Christians continue 
instant in prayer ; then will the Church of Christ 
be well defended by the Word and prayer, against 
every enemy. 

He that loves the Church of Christ and desires 
her prosperity, should never forget that he must do 
his share towards preserving her. This is done by 
prayer, by the earnest supplication to God that His 
name may be hallowed, that His kingdom may 
come, and that His will may be done on earth. 
We should also pray fervently for the overthrow of 
the power of the devil, that he may be put to shame, 
and that his nefarious plans may be frustrated. If 
we do this we shall, one and all, stand fully equipped 
and ready for the defence of the Church against 
the devil and the world ; we shall be as the warrior 
who has his weapons in readiness and takes his 

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position in the front ranks, prepared for every on- 
set. In this regard, every Christian is a warrior 
who battles constantly against the devil: we as 
preachers with our preaching, ye as hearers, to- 
gether with us, with your earnest prayer. These 
two weapons: preaching and prayer, cut the devil 
to tho very quick, and by no other mean? but these 
can he be repulsed and vanquished. Besides all 
this, we know that it is the will of the Father in 
heaven that we should freely use these weapons. 

I have not the slightest doubt that many wicked 
plans of our adversaries and the enemies of the 
Word of God, have been frustrated by our prayer ; 
aud if now anything which is right is to be accom- 
plished, or if any evil is to be prevented, prayer 
must do it. Let us then never undervalue the 
power of prayer, nor suppose ourselves unqualified, 
or too unworthy, to make use of it, else no one 
would dare to pray. Every Christian should be 
ready to exclaim : Since God delights in our prayer, 
and since we, the Church, the State and all, so 
greatly need it and are benefited thereby, we will 
pray with the Church and for her as much and as 
earnestly as we can, for we are convinced that it 
will not be in vain. 

It would be wrong and dangerous to think that 
others may pray, but our prayer is of no account. Let 
us shun such thoughts, and rather say : Thanks be 
to God, we love Christ and His Word, and would 
sooner give up all things else than to deny our 
Lord; therefore it follows that the Father loves 
us and will hear our prayer, as Christ declares in 
our text. Nothing shall now hinder us from pray- 
ing. It will indeed be well for us if we cheerfully 

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ROGATE. 381 

pray in the name of Christ and have full faith in 
His promise : "Verily, verily, I say unto you, what- 
soever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will 
give it you." 

When Christ further says : "These things have I 
spoken unto you in proverbs," He does not wish to 
say that these instructions had been given in dubi- 
ous and difficult words; for His expressions are 
definite and clear ; but He portrays in these words 
the condition of the understanding of His disciples. 
They had as yet no experience in these things, nor 
did they know what kingdom Christ was establish- 
ing ; all this was dark before their eyes, and when 
He spoke of it to them they understood not His 

But the hour was nigh when this would be 
changed. He says: "The time cometh, when I 
shall speak to you no more in proverbs, but I shall 
shew you plainly of the Father." When the Holy 
Spirit comes and fills the hearts with faith and con- 
fidence in the mercy and grace of God through 
Christ, then will follow the desire to engage in 
prayer, which will be a pleasure. Without the 
Holy Spirit it is impossible to pray. 

Zechariah therefore calls this Spirit "the Spirit 
of grace and of supplication." Both belong to- 
gether. God must be recognized through faith as 
a merciful Father, because He gave for us His Son ; 
but this faith is a gift of God, bestowed upon us 
through the Holy Ghost by means of the Gospel. 
Where this "Spirit of grace" dwells, there is also 
the "Spirit of supplication," so that we will implore 
God for help in suffering and tribulation, firmly 
believing that He will hear us for the sake of Jesus 

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Christ, His dear Son, and that He will be with us 
and bless us now and evermore. 

Referring to this operation of the Holy Spirit, 
Christ says : "At that day ye shall ask in my name," 
and your prayer will surely be heard. For how 
could the Father, whom I have revealed unto you 
through the Holy Spirit, and whom you know, 
refuse your requests? He loves you because you 
love me and believe that I came out from God. 
True prayer must spring from such faith and con- 
fidence, else it is no prayer, even if it be couched in 
the most beautiful words. 

May God, our Father, grant us His Holy Spirit 
through Christ Jesus, that we may pray to Him in 
every time of need, and thus worship Him in true 
faith, so that we may be freed from all our misery 
in time and in eternity. Amen. 

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Acts 1, 1-11. The former treatise have I made, Theophilus, of 
all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He 
was taken up, after that He through the Holy Qhost had given com- 
mandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen : to whom also 
He shewed Himself alive after His passu n by many infallible proofs, 
being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining 
to the kingdom of God : and, being assembled together with them, 
commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but 
wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of 
me. For John truly baptized with water ; but ye shall be baptized 
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore 
were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at 
this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto 
them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the 
Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after 
that the Holy Ghost is come upon you : and ye shall be witnesses 
unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and 
unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had spoken these 
things, while they beheld, lit was taken up ; and a cloud received 
Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward 
heaven as He went up, behold, two un*n stood by them in white 
apparel ; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing 
up into heaven? this same Jesus, which. is taken up from you into 
heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into 

,jffe commemorate this day the Ascension of 
^^e) our Lord Jesus Christ, concerning which 
we confess in our Creed : "I believe in Jesus Christ, 
who ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right 
hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence 
He shall come to judge the quick and the dead." 
The celebration of this day was therefore instituted 
not only that we, who daily peruse the Scriptures, 
might be reminded of the ascension of our Lord, 
but also that our children, who are constantly 

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growing up around us, and that the common people 
might be taught the ascension of Christ into heaven, 
so that by the keeping of this festival they might 
learn, together with us, how it happened and what 
blessings flow from it. 

St. Luke gives a full and vivid description of the 
events of this day, so that we become intimately 
acquainted with the time, place and persons con- 
nected with the occurrence, and can clearly under- 
stand how it all happened. We are told how the 
Lord, when He had tarried with His disciples forty 
days, mostly in Galilee, after the time of His resur- 
rection, during which days He ate with them and 
taught them of His kingdom, now assembled them 
on mount Olivet near Jerusalem, and gave them 
the command, as St. Luke narrates, not to depart 
from the city, but £here to await the outpouring of 
the Holy Ghost, after which they should go into all 
the world to preach the Gospel. When He had 
finished these sayings, "He was taken up ; and a 
cloud received Him out of their sight." He thus 
ascended on high, with His body of flesh and bone, 
just as He had stood before His disciples. While 
they stand full of amazement at this occurrence, at 
this unheard of flight of a human body into the air, 
even as a bird would soar aloft, two angels come to 
them and tell them to return to their homes, that 
now the ascension was completed, that their Lord 
and Master would not return to the earth again 
until He came in a cloud, even as He had now 
ascended in one, to judge the quick aiid the dead. 
These are the outlines of the incidents as recorded 
in the first chapter of the Acts, and as you, my 
beloved, just heard from the words of our text. 

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In this event we ought to notice, first of all, the 
miraculous manner in which Christ ascended on 
high, how He went aloft into the air as a bird flies 
upwards, and then vanished out of the sight of His 
disciples. Surely, it is an uncommon, yea an im- 
possible thing for men to fly upwards into the air. 
The human body is so constituted by nature that it 
tends downwards, like a stone or any other heavy 
material. Now Christ had after His resurrection 
also a real body of flesh and bone, which could be 
touched, as He Himself says Luke 24 ; yet it was a 
body w T hich could, according to its constitution, 
move upwards or downwards at will and with equal 

From this fact we can learn what kind of body 
we are to receive after death. Now our bodies are 
heavy, clumfey and sluggish, but after the resurrec- 
tion we shall obtain new bodies, which shall also be 
constituted of flesh and bone as to all their parts, 
but which at the same time shall not be heavy nor 
unwieldy, but as easily transferable from place to 
place as are now our thoughts. We see how this 
was with Christ after His resurrection ; neither the 
rock over His grave, nor the closed doors, could 
prevent His passage; He sweeps through with 
lightning speed, and no one knows how it happens. 
He appears wherever He desires to do so, and is in- 
visible at His pleasure. Now He is here, presently 
He is in some other place ; He walks in the air as 
well as upon the ground. Such excellence is also 
in store for our bodies after the resurrection ; albeit 
they shall be immortal, no more in need of food or 
drink, and never disturbed by disease. 


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Let us now consider the reason of this ascension 
of CI iris t, what He wished to achieve by it, and 
how its benefits can be enjoyed by us during our 
life on earth. The ascension of Christ, His goiug 
upwards, indicates first of all, and beyond all doubt, 
that He will have nothing to do with this world 
and its kingdoms ; else He would have remained 
here, wielding the power of earthly kings and 
potentates. But He leaves all this below, and 
ascends into heaven, where we see Him not. By 
this He teaches us what His kingdom is and how 
we should regard it ; that it is not of this world, as 
the disciples at first imagined that it would yield 
them wealth and power and honor, but a spiritual, 
eternal kingdom, in which He distributes spiritual 
blessings to all who are His subjects. 

Let no one become a Christian with a view of 
thus obtaining earthly treasures and honors. The 
Office of the Ministry, Baptism and the Lord's 
Supper were not instituted for any such purpose ; 
nor did Christ come upon earth, or ascend again 
into heaven, that He might establish such a transient, 
temporal, worldly kingdom. He had a higher, 
nobler aim, which was to bless us with heavenly 
gifts, with the forgiveness of sins, with righteous- 
ness and everlasting life. Such are the blessings in 
store for us through Christ, who would not remain 
on earth, but ascended on high to establish a spir- 
itual, invisible, eternal kingdom. 

This was prophesied long before by the Holy 
Ghost in the 68. Psalm, to which St. Paul refers 
when he, Eph. 4, speaks of the ascension and spir- 
itual dominion of Christ. These are the words of 

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the Psalmist : "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou 
hast led captivity captive : Thou hast received gifts 
for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord 
God might dwell among them." This is a brief 
but very comprehensive passage, which we ought 
to consider attentively and remember with care. 
St. Paul does this so beautifully and appropriately 
when he thus dwells upon the former portion of 
the passage : "Now that He ascended, what is it 
but that He also descended first into the lower 
parts of the earth ? He that descended is the same 
also that ascended up far above all heavens, that 
He might fill all things." 

How are these words of St. Paul to be under- 
stood? Simply thus: Because we derive such 
glorious benefits from the ascension of our Lord, as 
we shall hear presently, we ought also to know the 
source of such grace and blessings. Neither our 
good works nor saintly life have merited them ; on 
the contrary, Christ alone, by His coming from 
heaven, by laying aside His heavenly glory when 
He became man in our behalf, and finally by His 
death upon the cross achieved for us the enjoyment 
of these gifts of grace. To such benefits St. Paul 
refers in the words just quoted, in which he speaks 
of the going down of Christ into the lower parts of 
.the earth. Such expressions are in full harmony 
with each other ; for he who is already on high 
needs not ascend on high. The declaration of the 
Holy Ghost concerning Christ : "He ascended far 
above all heavens" indicates therefore that He first 
descended to earth and humbled Himself for us. 
Hence these words of St. Paul correspond well with 
those of the Lord Himself, which we considered a 

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few Sundays ago : "It is expedient for you that I 
go away : for if I go not away, the Comforter will 
not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send 
Him unto you," John 16 ; and again John 14 : "I 
go to prepare a place for you." 

The expression, "Thou hast ascended on high," 
leads us also to make a distinction between the 
ascension of Christ and that of others of whom it 
is said that they ascended. Enoch was taken on 
high by God, and Elijah went into heaven on a 
fiery chariot. Not thus did Christ ascend; He 
went on high of His own accord, by means of the 
power inhering in His person, just as He also arose 
from the dead by His own power, without the 
assistance of any other. 

Here then we have a marked difference. We 
cannot raise ourselves from the dead on the last 
day, but Christ must do it, John 6 ; He however 
arose in His own strength, as He says John 10: 
"Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay 
down my life, that I might take it again. No man 
taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I 
have power to lay it down, and I have power to 
take it again." And St. Peter, referring to this 
power of Christ, in his first sermon, Acts 2, says : 
"It was not possible that He should be holden of 
death." The same distinction we observe to exist 
between His ascension and ours. We ascend be- 
cause Christ draws us after Him ; He however goes 
on high of His own will and power, as He declares, 
John 3 : "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, 
but He that came down from heaven." The Holy 
Ghost pointed out this peculiarity long ago, and 

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teaches us thereby to accept Christ as the true, 
almighty and everlasting God. 

When the Psalmist says : "Thou hast ascended 
on high," he expresses but the same truth which 
Christ Himself declares before Pilate, as we have 
seen above, namely : "My kingdom is not of this 
world." We ought therefore as Christians to raise 
our hearts and thoughts on high, and seek first of 
all with diligence and great anxiety this spiritual 
kingdom ; yea, although the field of our labor is on 
earth, where we have our vocation, our family, our 
cares for the support of our temporal existence and 
the government of the State, and the like, yet we 
ought ever to fulfill first this duty, to seek the 
kingdom of heaven. Do we do it ? The greater 
portion of mankind is so absorbed, with soul and 
body, in the transactions of this life, that but little 
attention, or none at all, is given to the fact that 
Christ ascended on high. The Holy Ghost there- 
fore earnestly desires to dispel this groveling spirit, 
and to teach us the truth that Christ did not remain 
on earth, but that He ascended on high, and that 
consequently we, even while we dwell in the body 
here below, should ascend to Him in our thoughts 
and mind, nor permit the cares of this world to 
burden our hearts. 

Thus ought the Christians to distribute their 
powers. The body and the old Adam, as we have 
stated, may indeed be busied with the temporal 
work of every day life, but the heart should be 
engaged in seeking after the treasures of heaven, 
as St. Paul exhorts, Col. 3: "Seek those things 
which are above, ^here Christ sitteth on the right 

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hand of God. Set your affection on things above, 
not on things on the earth." 

What does Christ do on high? Why did He 
ascend, and why did He not remain below ? Is He 
idle now, or does He do anything ? The 68. Psalm, 
already quoted, answers these queries in the sen- 
tence : "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast 
led captivity captive. These words are exceed- 
ingly pleasant and cheering, and it would seem as 
if Christ referred to this Psalm wheu He says, Luke 
11 : "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, 
his goods are in peace : but when a stronger than 
he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he 
taketh from him all his armor, wherein he trusted, 
and divideth his spoils." 

We poor mortals are, on account of sin, under 
the dominion of Satan and death ; these two hold 
us in chains with such power that we are totally 
unable to free ourselves from such tyranny. The 
devil unceasingly aims at us his fiery darts and 
seeks to devour us. The law points out to us our 
sins, and accuses and terrifies our conscience on 
account of them to such a degree that it must ex- 
claim in bitter anguish : Alas, alas, I have sinned 
against God and my neighbor, and therefore am 
guilty of death. Against these our irrepressible 
enemies we have no defence, neither of ourselves 
nor of others, though these be angels or saints. 
Christ alone is the stronger One ; He comes and 
meekly puts Himself under the law for us and is 
judged by it as the greatest of sinners. He dies 
upon the cross between two malefactors, charged 
as a conspirator against the emperor and as a blas- 
phemer of God. He thus, as a patient, innocent 

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lamb, bears the sin of the whole world, and pays 
with His own life the crushing debt. Nor does He 
in His suffering manifest His power and majesty ; 
He hangs upon the cross for the very purpose of 
enduring death. 

When the law, on account of its unjust sentence, 
had lost all its claim on Christ and its authority 
over Him ; when sin and death, which had thus far 
ruled the world, were subdued and routed by His 
death ; when the crucified Saviour had been laid in 
the grave and no one had the hope, the assurance 
and consolation that He would arise from it, He 
bursts forth from the embrace of death in full glory 
and majesty, as we saw on Easter Sunday, and 
leads "captivity captive," as the Holy Ghost here 
declares. Yea, He breaks the power of the devil, 
of the law, of sin and of death ; these now lose 
their sway, so that the devil can no longer harm 
the Christians, nor the law accuse them, nor sin 
terrify them, nor death overwhelm them. In truth, 
a great and wonderful change ! Formerly the devil 
influenced and led us as he pleased; we were caught 
in his meshes, and thought, and talked, and acted 
as he instigated. Hence the law threatened us and 
held up before us oar crimes; sin ruled with 
strength and committed its votaries into the merci- 
less, all-devouring jaws of death. 

This painful, cruel captivity, from which none 
could escape, shall forever be led captive. This is 
the meaning of the 68. Psalm when we there read : 
"Christ has ascended on high, and has led captivity 
captive." He crushed the head of the devil, the 
god and prince of this world, and took from him 
his power and cast him into prison, even into tho 

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gloomy fetters of hell, so that henceforth neither 
he nor his angels can injure those who believe in 
Christ. And though the devil rages with horrible 
madness and shows his teeth in blind fury, ready 
to bite like a rabid dog in chains, yet he can do no 
harm, but can only terrify us a little ; for our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ holds him bound, a pris- 
oner, a culprit, judged, sentenced and damned. 
Therefore the devil has no authority over us, nor 
can he injure us, but will rather by his continual 
lying in wait make us more cautious to cling stead- 
ily to Christ, the Conqueror, who crushed the head 
of the serpent ; otherwise, if the devil did not rave 
and threaten so furiously, we might become secure 
and careless. But the enemy is at hand; he neither 
rests nor permits us to be at peace ; this makes us 
watchful, active and bold. 

As the devil, even though vanquished and made 
prisoner by our great Captain, Christ, does not 
cease to annoy and trouble the Christians, so the 
law does not cease to reveal to them sin in its most 
hideous character. Thus it works wrath, that is, 
it accuses, terrifies and condemns us as transgressors 
of its precepts. It not only demands of us to lead 
an outwardly upright and becoming life, to do 
good works commanded in its tables, but it also 
exacts of us an earnest, ready and efficient obedience, 
that we should love God with our whole heart and 
our neighbor as ourselves. 

If we are honest and in our right mind we must 
surely confess that we have not even earnestly 
thought of the law in this light, much less that we 
have thus kept its precepts, but that we have rather 
frequently broken them and done those things 

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which it distinctly forbids. Then comes the judg- 
ment of the law : "Cursed is every one that eontin- 
ueth not in all things which are written in the 
book of the law to do them." If the law be under- 
stood spiritually and not carnally, — for he who 
regards it carnally becomes a hypocrite, a proud, 
sanctimonious pretender, who has many and griev- 
ous sins which he does not at all consider, — the 
heart which feels its terrible accusations is apt to 
conclude: Alas, I have not sinned against the 
emperor, or a king, or some other potentate of this 
world, but against the Word and command of God, 
the Ruler of heaven and earth ; I have maliciously 
and knowingly neglected His mandates and despised 
His will, for which iniquity He will most certaiuly 
punish me, even for ever and ever, in the abyss of 

In this manner the law domineers over all man- 
kind with terror, curses and condemnation, which 
is indeed an excruciating, intolerable captivity, 
which no one can avoid. Devout and God-fearing 
souls experience this very often, as many of the 
Psalms clearly show. The hypocrites, together 
with the whole crowd of bad, lawless and wicked 
men, shall also feel this captivity, if not in this life, 
during the time of grace, at least in their last hour, 
to their eternal shame and condemnation. 

Where then can we find help in this sore distress? 
Hear once more what the Holy Spirit says through 
the prophet in the 68. Psalm: "He, Christ, has 
ascended on high and has led captivity captive ;" 
that is : He wrenched from the law, which, whether 
we feel it now, or not till death, was our greatest 
enemy, all its authority and power over us. The 

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law exhausted itself when it sinned so wretchedly 
against Christ, its own Master, when it condemned 
Him as the greatest blasphemer and rebel to die 
upon the cross, an<J declared Him accursed; for 
thus we read the sentence of the law in Deut. 21 : 
"For he that is hanged is accursed of God;" and 
the Jews cried out before Pilate : "We have a law, 
and by our law He ought to die, because He made 
Himself the Son of God." But now and for ever 
the law lies prostrate under the feet of Christ; it is 
bound, condemned and executed, yea, it has lost 
every vestige of power over those who believe in 
Him; its curse is removed from these, and they 
also, through their faith, have it under their feet. 
All the law can now do is to accuse and to threaten; 
more it cannot do, for it has lost its sway over us, 
and its claim upon us is annulled; we have in 
Christ a Redeemer ; through faith in Him we fear 
not the law, nor shall it now lead us into despair, 
for it can no longer condemn. 

St. Paul speaks of this happy change in precious 
words, Col. 2 : "He blotted out the handwriting of 
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary 
to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His 
cross." And Isaiah says, 9. chapter: "He has 
broken the yoke of His burden, and the staff of His 
shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, as in the day of 
Midian." And, 1 Cor. 15, the Apostle P&ui ex- 
claims: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O 
death, where is thy sting ? grave, where is thy 
victory ? The sting of death is sin ; and the strength 
of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which 
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus 

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Sin is busy still ; it allures and tempts us to array 
us against God and to worry our conscience. Alas, 
often we are weak and suffer ourselves to be de- 
ceived and belied by sin, as it happened to David, 
the good and great man, who fell into two abomin- 
able sins. It is true, *he did not continue therein, 
nor did he suffer death as punishment; for he 
believed in Christ, the coming Saviour of the world, 
and earnestly repented of his sins, so that they were 
forgiven him. Thus did sin not only lose its power 
over David, but it even became the occasion of 
making him more earnest in faith and prayer. If 
sin with its distressing consequences had not over- 
whelmed him, he would never have composed that 
beautiful Psalm of earnest supplication for pardon, 
the Miserere. (Psalm 51.) 

Death also is still active ; he delights in showing 
us his fangs and in threatening to devour us; and 
it is but natural for us to be frightened at his 
approach. But we ask ; How is it that death does 
not accomplish what he desires, to slay the Chris- 
tians? The answer is: Death is after all van- 
quished; his power is not unlimited; he is a cap- 
tive, restrained by the hand of his Conqueror, 
Christ. With all his raving and most dreadful 
threatenings against the Christians, he accomplishes 
but this, that they will cling so much the more 
firmly to the Word of God, learning and keeping 
its precepts with greater diligence, to their great 
comfort and joy. Otherwise, if death did not 
threaten, they would not cherish the Word of God 
so dearly and faithfully. 

These terrors and dangers, indeed, afflict the 
Christians to a good purpose; but they are by no 

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means harmless. On the contrary, in their nature 
they are very baneful, as is manifest in their effects 
upon the world. But here we see and experience 
the importance and benefits of the ascension of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. It is an assurance unto us that 
these fearful enemies have all been subdued and 
that they can no more perpetrate upon Christians 
their wicked designs. Yea, if these were not con- 
quered foes we would be accused and cursed by the 
law, condemned by sin, slain by. death, and thrust 
into the lowest region of hell by the devil. Now 
however we fear them not, though they are bitter 
against us. The ascension of Christ is therefore a 
most glorious and blissful occurrence ; it assures us 
of the defeat and subjugation of the mighty enemies, 
the law, sin, death and the devil. Christ has led 
them captive and redeemed us from their grasp; 
and He ascended on high, and sits at the right 
hand of God, for the very purpose of defending His 
Christians against the assaults of these foes. 

But this is not all. The Psalm continues : "Thou 
hast received gifts for men," that is, gifts for the 
benefit of men. What gifts are these ? We read 
of them, Joel 2 : "After those days I will pour out 
my Spirit upon all flesh," and St. John 16 : "But if 
I depart, I will send the Comforter unto you. And 
when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin 
and of righteousness and of judgment." Similar 
are the words of St. Peter, Acts 2 : "Therefore be- 
ing by the right hand of God exalted, and having 
received of the Father the promise of the Holy 
Ghost, He has shed forth this, which ye now see 
and hear." 

The office of the Holy Ghost is twofold. He 

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brings us, in the first place, through the Gospel to 
a knowledge of Christ, so that we believe the for- 
giveness of sins in His name. In the second place, 
He causes us to lead a holier life, to resist and sub- 
due sin, and to practice an implicit obedience 
toward God. Thus will our body and soul, our 
heart and all that we arc, become sanctified and 
righteous. Though on earth we will never be 
entirely free from sin, on account of our depraved 
human nature, yet if we have faith in Christ we 
shall not be condemned for the infirmity w r hich 
still cleaves to us, nor w T ill our sin be counted 
against u,s. Thus does the Holy Ghost exert His 
influence in us. 

And He does still more. He employs us also to 
bring others to this same grace and knowledge by 
means- of the Word and the office of preaching. In 
this sense does the Apostle St. Paul in Eph. 4. 
quote this 68. Psalm, where he says that as a result 
of the ascension of Christ "He gave some, apostles ; 
and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and 
some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of 
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the 
edifying of the body of Christ : till we all come in 
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the 
Son of God." Nor are we ignorant of the fact that 
the devil is hostile to the Word, especially in our 
time, when he urges on the infidels and the Pope, 
with their numerous hosts, to crush the Word and 
to root out the Christians. But in spite of the 
raging fury of the unbelievers and the Pope, the 
Word continues upon its course of victory; they 
are unable to overthrow the power of the Word 
and Sacraments. Here we perceive again the effi- 

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cacy of the ascensiou of our Lord. He ascended 
on high to send down the Holy Spirit for the 
establishing and increase of His kingdom on earth. 

Another gift is this : God governs and protects 
His Church at all times ; He comforts her in tribu- 
lation; He rescues her from persecution; guides 
her into all truth over against falsehood, and gives 
her an earnest spirit of prayer, as we heard His 
words last Sunday : "On that day ye shall ask in 
my name," which cannot be done except by the 
assistance of the Holy Ghost. In short, all that we 
have and enjoy are free gifts of Christ, the fruit of 
His glorious ascension. He ascended on high to 
promote His kingdom, that through the Word and 
the Holy Ghost His Church might be established 
and preserved. 

St. Luke in his Gospel points to this fact in these 
words: "While He blessed them, He was parted 
from them, and was carried up into heaven/' This 
blessing was not a mere expression of good will, a 
parting wish, such as we employ when bidding 
each other farewell. He wished them success and 
joy in the holy office which He had intrusted unto 
them, of preaching the Gospel unto all creatures 
throughout the world. This preaching was not 
ordained in behalf of trees, stones, birds or fishes, 
out in behalf of mankind, as is clearly evident from 
what follows : "He that believeth and is baptized 
shall be saved." Stone and wood cannot believe, 
nor did Christ give a command to baptize them. 
As therefore faith and baptism pertain alone to 
men, so does also the preaching of the Gospel. 
When Christ uses the expression: "Preach the 
Gospel unto every creature," He means that no 

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calling or position in life shall be excluded from 
hearing the Gospel ; that emperors and kings, be 
they ever so mighty, must hear, accept aud believe 
this Gospel or else be damued. To such preaching 
Christ ordains His apostles ; when He lifts up His 
hands He blesses them. He thus not only wishes 
them success, but helps them and grants them 
prosperity, and bestows His blessing in the adminis- 
tration of their office. 

This benediction of ou» Lord Jesus Christ still 
continues, and is efficacious wherever the holy 
Gospel is preached in its purity, so that this preach- 
ing is not in vain. This blessing bestowed upon 
the disciples by the Lord, at the very time of His 
ascension on high, is full of consolation for us. He 
thereby invites us to keep in mind His going to tlie 
Father, and to rest assured under all tribulation 
that the blessing of His ascension is with us, and 
that He will employ its glorious effects for our 
benefit. If His purpose were otherwise, if He were 
angry with us and would not use us in His king- 
dom, He would certainly not have departed on 
high with these tokens of love towards us. The 
fact of His raising His hands in blessing over His 
disciples, thereby promising them all prosperity 
and success in their holy office, to which He had 
called them, is an assurance unto us that the Lord 
is our faithful, true Friend, whose blessing is ever 
upon us as long as the Gospel is preached. 

These considerations teach us, my beloved, w r hat 

a happy and comfortable day this festival of Christ's 

ascension is unto us, and what manifold blessings 

Jow from it. Henceforth the Son of God, who 

assumed our flesh and blood and overcame the law, 

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sin, death and the devil, sits at the right hand of 
the Father and protects us against the many 
assaults of these our foes. They are indeed relent- 
less enemies, constantly on the alert to injure us ; 
and yet they are in captivity, led captive by our 
ascended Lord. Christ furthermore sends us His 
Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, to protect ua 
from error, to console us in sorrow, to teach us how 
to pray, and to confer upon us various gifts and 
graces. Christ "ascended up far above all heavens, 
that He might fill all things," says St. Paul, and 
thus expresses the truth that we now have through 
our Lord all things that we need for time and for 
eternity. Let us therefore imitate the example of 
the apostles, as it is recorded by St. Luke, who 
"worshiped the Lord" and were filled "with great 
joy ;" let us give hearty thanks unto our heavenly 
Father for His manifestation of mercy, and pray 
that He may keep as in true faith, so that in the 
end we may depart in peace from this world, fol- 
lowing our ascended Lord into eternal life and 
happiness. O Christ, grant us this in mercy ! 

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John 15. 26-16, 4. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will 
send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which pro- 
ceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me : and ye also shall bear 
witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These 
things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They 
shall put you out of the synagogues : yea, the time coraeth, that 
whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And 
these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the 
Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the 
time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And 
these things 1 said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with 

|\ur text to-day consists of two parts. The first 
speaks of the Holy Ghost ; the second treats 
of the persecution awaiting those who preach the 
Gospel and confess it before the world. 

You are aware that w T e believe the Holy Ghost 
to be true God, eternal and almighty. Christ 
designates Him in our text by an especial name 
when He calls Him "the Comforter." This appel- 
lation would indicate that the Christians must be 
ready to endure dangers and to suffer pain; for 
what need would there be of a Comforter if sorrow 
and suffering were not our lot ? The suffering of 
the Christians, according to the text, shall consist 
not only in being put to death, which would not be 
the severest trial of their faith, but in this also, that 
those who slay them shall think they are doing 
God service, and will proclaim abroad that their 
victims suffered deservedly. It is indeed a most 
appalling death and punishment when every one 

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is ready to exclaim: Ah, it is right thus; this 
heretic has hut received his dues! Thus we see 
that the Christians have no sympathy nor consola- 
tion from the world ; they are persecuted and slain 
as heretics. Sometimes they are even weak enough 
to think : Perhaps we acted amiss and were impru- 
dent in our confession. Thus they are looked upon 
as evil-doers hy the world, and are scarcely easy in 
their own conscience. 

Christ had in view just this distressing condition 
of the Christians when He speaks of the Holy Ghost 
as a "Comforter." By this name He tells us: I 
know how you will fare iu the world, that you will 
often be without cheer and consolation ; but I will 
not desert you then, nor permit you to perish in 
your misery; and when you are destitute of all 
comfort, when you are filled with anxiety and fear, 
then will I send you the Holy Ghost, the Com- 
forter, to strengthen and to cheer you ; listen there- 
fore attentively to His words and remember them 

There are two kinds of consolation. The one is 
of a worldly nature, false and deceptive ; it directs 
man to trust in wealth, honor and power, in the 
friendship and favor of princes and rulers of this 
world. Christ teaches His disciples in our Gospel 
that they will not have this favor and friendship of 
the world, but that it will employ all its power, in- 
fluence and wealth to oppose and crush them. He 
tells them that they ought not to be frightened nor 
downcast because they are in want of this kind of 
consolation, which is in every way miserable and 
unreliable; it lasts only a little while, perhaps till 
some fever, a pestilence, a headache, or some other 

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EXAUDI. 403 

bodily ailment comes — then it amounts to nothing. 
But, says Christ, I will give you another Comforter, 
the Spirit of truth, who can indeed comfort you 
before the world and in your own hearts, whenever 
you are distressed, timid, poor and forsaken. He is 
just what He is called, a Comforter; He brings no 
sorrow. Wherever sadness and grief dwells, there 
the Comforter has not His home. This Comforter 
is also called "the Spirit of truth," because He does 
not comfort for a little while only, as the world 
does, but with an eternal consolation which deceives 
no man. 

Our hearts are apt to contradict this and to say : 
We feel nothing of this consolation, but, on the 
contrary, we see how the world enjoys pleasure and 
happiness, while the Christians must suffer much. 
John the Baptist is beheaded, but Herod and his 
harlot are banqueting and full of glee. Our experi- 
ence is similar. The world begrudges us every bite 
of bread and thinks it does a praiseworthy deed 
when it persecutes the Christians ; but the Pope, 
his cardinals, the bishops, and the whole host of 
enemies to the Gospel, live at ease in gardens of 
roses, without tribulation. Where now is the 
promised comfort ? Christ auswers : It is present ; 
you have it with you ; only distinguish between 
the two kinds of consolation. It is true, the world 
has its peculiar comfort, or it would not be so care- 
less aud jovial; but it is a lying comfort, which 
does not proceed from the Spirit of truth. It may 
happen in a moment that the world's consolation 
lies shattered and powerless. 

On the other hand, this Comforter of the Chris- 
tians is a "Spirit of truth," pouring into our hearts 

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a consolation unceasing. Though John had not 
that consolation which Herod and his concubine 
had, though he was by them cast into prison and 
cruelly beheaded, yet he was not without consola- 
tion ; the Holy Spirit cheered him thus : John, 
make thou no account of the terrors surrounding 
thee ; despair not because thou art imprisoned and 
subject to the taunts of the world, for thou knowest 
that its pleasures are of short duration ; thy suffer- 
ings, however, will also be brief and will be followed 
by everlasting joy, one moment of which is more 
precious than a thousand years on earth with all its 
so-called pleasures. This consolation fills the heart 
of John, so that he does not fear death, but praises 
God for his liberation from this miserable, sinful 
body and for the entrance into eternal life. 

Whence has the Holy Spirit this consolation? 
"From the Father," as Christ here declares, "for 
He, the Spirit of truth, proceedeth from the Father." 
This is a most valuable passage, which proves the 
doctrine of the Trinity. For if the Holy Spirit 
proceeds from the Father, it follows that this Spirit 
is eternal, since nothing can proceed from the 
Father which in its essence and nature is not like 
unto Him. Just as God the Son is eternal because 
He is born of the Father from eternity, and what is 
born of the Father must be like unto Him ; so the 
Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father, must like- 
wise be eternal. And again : Because Christ, the 
Son of God, sends the Holy Spirit, as He here de- 
clares, this Spirit must proceed equally from the 
Son and the Father. This article of our Confession 
wc will, however, pass by for the present, and will 
treat further of it at some other time. 

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EXAUDI. 405 

What is the consolation which the Holy Spirit 
brings? "He shall testify of me/' says the Lord; 
that is : The devil will surely terrify and the world 
will persecute and kill the Christians, but the Holy 
Spirit will be present with His testimony to arouse 
faith and to encourage the wavering heart, making 
it firm in Christ. The Comforter will indeed not 
bring us thousands of dollars in our distress, as 
perhaps the world would do, but He will cheer us 
with the Gcspel and the word of promise, so that 
we can exclaim: Let them take all, family and 
home, our goods and our honor, yea, even our life, 
yet we will not despond, for we have a Helper 
above, Christ Jesus our Lord, who for us became 
man, and died and arose again from the dead, and 
ascended into heaven in our behalf, as we daily 
confess in our Creed. Why then should we fear? 
The Son of God, our Lord, who went into death 
for us, cannot be our enemy, but will defend and 
aid us under all circumstances. If He thus loves 
us, then surely have we no cause whatever to fear 
or to mistrust Him. 

This consolation we find in the words of Christ: 
"He shall testify of me," for outside of this testi- 
mony of the Holy Spirit concerning Christ there is 
no sure and abiding consolation. The words "of 
me" ought therefore to be written in large letters 
and well remembered. They teach us that the 
Holy Spirit, when He comes to console, preaches 
no other doctrine, not the law, nor anything else 
but Christ, since it is impossible to comfort the 
troubled hearts except by preaching Christ's death 
and resurrection. It is certain that the urgiug of 
the law, of good works and an unblemished life, 

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brings no consolation; it only makes men diffident 
and full of fear; for without Christ God appears 
terrible, full of wrath and ready to punish. The 
preaching of Christ alone conveys true consolation, 
which beyond all doubt makes glad the hearts and 
cheers them in all sorrow. 

Heuce it is of the first importance to lay hold of 
this consolation, to cling to it and to say confident- 
ly : I believe in Jesus Christ who died for me ; and 
I know that the Holy Ghost, who is called a Wit- 
ness and a Comforter, speaks and testifies through- 
out all Christendom of no other source of consola- 
tion for the sorrowful than of Christ; this shall 
comfort me and this alone. If there were any 
other better and more reliable consolation, the Holy 
Ghost would give it ; but there is none ; therefore 
He testifies only concerning Christ. 

Why does the Lord in this connection make use 
of the word "testify ?" Could He not just as well 
have selected some other expression ? He does it 
to direct our attention especially to the word. It 
is true, the Holy Ghost works inwardly in the 
heart, but this working, ordinarily, takes place by 
means of the preached Word. Thus says St. Paul, 
Rom. 10 : "How shall they believe in Him of whom 
they have not heard?" For this reason Christ 
calls the Holy Spirit a Witness, who bears His testi- 
mony through the mouth and word of the apostles 
and all preachers who proclaim the Gospel of Christ 
in its purity. 

Let therefore no one who needs consolation sup- 
pose that the Holy Ghost will show him Christ 
personally, or speak to him audibly from heaven. 
He bears His testimony publicly through the 


EXAUDI. 407 

preaching of the Word which we hear with our 
ears. Through such preaching He moves the heart 
and testifies of Christ also inwardly. But this in- 
ward testimony is only the result of a preceding, 
public and outward preaching of Christ, which 
declares that He became man for us, and that He 
was crucified, and died, and arose again in our be- 

We thus learn from our text this lesson, that if 
we desire to be Christians we must be content 
though we do not here on earth have much money, 
wealth, pleasure, and the like, but rather the enmity 
of the world, and, in addition, sin and death and an 
accusing conscience. When such affliction visits 
the Christians, their hearts are^apt to despond and 
fear; they are then inclined to say: Why is it 
thus? What have we gained? Could we not have 
been Christians without undergoing such privations 
and tribulations? It is our own fault now that we 
are in such misery, &e. Besides, the awful exam- 
ples of many well-known persons who, when they 
had fallen into great and shameful sins, perished in 
their misery, will be remembered and tend to in- 
crease the despondency. In such periods of gloom 
and unrest we need especially the Comforter, and 
we have the word of Christ for it, that He will most 
assuredly be present to teach us that such heavy, 
oppressive thoughts are not from Him, but from the 
spirit of evil. And this is evident enough that 
such thoughts terrify and lead to despair ; the Holy 
Spirit, however, does not terrify; He consoles, 
encourages, and testifies that Christ has conquered 
the world aud its ruler. Hence all thoughts which 

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cause sadness and depression are from the devil. 
The Holy Ghost in testifying of Christ, how He 
gave His life for our redemption and arose for our 
justification, dispels all gloom from the heart and 
fills it with consolation and joy. His testimony is 
therefore unto us a sure proof that Christ is our 
Friend, that He does not desire our destruction, 
but our eternal salvation. All this is contained in 
the expression : "He shall testify of me." 

We ought to be especially mindful of this in our 
conflict with the sectarians and false preachers. 
Here we are told that the Holy Ghost as a Com- 
forter shall testify of Christ and implant Him in 
our hearts. The evil spirit, on the other hand, 
terrifies the consciences by holding up to them sin 
and death. But then comes again the Holy Spirit 
with His testimony, which consoles and admonishes 
us not to look merely to sin, death and damnation, 
which is indeed an awful, terrific and overwhelming 
view, but to turn the eyes to that Man who is called 
Jesus Christ. Of Him we confess: He was con- 
ceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, 
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead 
and buried ; He descended into hell, and on the 
third day arose again from the dead. And why 
do we confess this of Him ? Did not all this happen 
to Him that we might have consolation amid sin 
and death ? Let us therefore lay aside our timidity 
and despondency, for which there is no good rea- 
son. If Christ were not with us, if He had not 
achieved for us redemption, then indeed would we 
have ground for fear. But now He is with us ; He 
Himself declares : Lo, I am with you always even 

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EXAUDI. 409 

unto the end of the world. For this He suffered 
death, and now sitteth on the right hand of His 
heavenly Father for our consolation. 

Wherever this truth is preached, there the voice, 
testimony and teaching of the Holy Spirit is heard. 
All other preaching, whatever it may be, is the 
voice of the law, or perhaps of the very devil him- 
self, who through hypocrites, heretics and self- 
righteous persons often testifies and preaches, but 
only to the sorrow, pain and despair of his hearers. 
May God in mercy protect us from the devil's testi- 
mony and preserve us to our end in the doctrine of 
the Holy Spirit, Amen. This is the first part of 
our Gospel for -this day, which treats of the Com- 
forter, the Holy Ghost, and of His work of consola- 
tion among the Christians. 

Let us now also consider the second part, which 
treats of affliction and persecution. First we should 
mark the words of Christ to His disciples: "They 
shall put you out of the synagogues." These words 
simply mean that those who excommunicate the 
Christians and "put them out" of the Church, as 
they say, will claim for themselves authority to do 
so, and will boast that they are the synagogue and 
the true Church, and suppose themselves entitled 
to much praise for thus zealously serving God. 
For this reason Christ adds the words : "Yea, the 
time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think 
that he doeth God service." 

It therefore behooves us to learn what the true 
Church is, and to bear in mind that there are always 
two kinds of churches. The one has the name 
only, but is a false church ; it claims to contain the 
people of God, but lies in this assertion. The 


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other has not the name, but is nevertheless the true 
Church. It is difficult to distinguish these two 
churches ; for we must admit that the false one also 
possesses the rightful office of the ministry. There- 
fore, although we hold and openly declare that the 
Pope and his followers are not the true Church, we 
must nevertheless admit that when they baptize, or 
ordain ministers, or perform the marriage ceremony, , 
the office and Word of God are right and valid. 
Accordingly we do not re-baptize those baptized 
by them. Cyprian erroneously held that the bap- 
tism of heretics was no true baptism, and therefore 
he re-baptized those whom they had baptized. He 
contended that the heretics were without the pale 
of the Christian Church, and therefore had no right 
to the functions of her office. But in this he was 

We must distinguish between the office itself and 
the person executing it. The man may be guilty of 
sins and unconscientious dealings, which show that 
he is not in full communion with the Church of 
Christ; yet this fact does not justify us in regard- 
ing the office which he happens to have in the 
Church as of no account. We must remember that 
the office is Christ's, and not that person's who 
performs its functions. If any one disregards the 
command of Christ, so that he preaches and admin- 
isters the Sacraments otherwise than the Lord has 
ordained it, then of course we deny the validity of 
such administrations. But as long as the order of 
Christ's institution is observed in the administration 
of the office, its efficacy is not destroyed by the im- 
perfections and sius of the person entrusted with it. 

If we would, therefore, correctly distinguish and 

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EXAUDI. 411 

judge these two churches, we must not confine bur 
investigation to the office of preaching and admin- 
istering the Sacraments ; for the false church may 
also have and execute this office correctly and still 
be no Church. We all know how the false church 
with much external splendor parades the name of 
God and prides itself on this account. Let us not 
be deceived thereby. The second commandment 
tells us plainly how the name of God may be taken 
in vain; and in the first petition of the Lord's 
Prayer we ask that the name of God may be hal- 
lowed, which is an indication that His name is 
often desecrated. Be we therefore not affrighted 
when the false church proceeds to condemn and 
excommunicate us in the name of God and of the . 
Church, since we know that the name of God is 
often abused and taken in vain. And when they 
thus would threaten and overawe us with the use 
of the name of God and the power of the Church, 
we will remember that the greatest unbelievers can 
make the same attempt, or there would have been 
no occasion for the caution not to take the name of 
God in vain. Our judgment in regard to the true 
Church must therefore be based principally upon the 
fact that she is there where God's name is honored 
and where her glorious privileges are not abused. 

That this judgment is correct we learn from the 
declaration which the Lord makes in our text con- 
cerning the false church; for it is evident that the 
true Church will not have recourse to the sword or 
worldly authority. The false church, however, 
continually takes the sword in hand and persecutes 
the true Church, as Christ here predicts: "They 
shall put you out of the synagogues, and whosoever 

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killeth you," &c. From this we learn what tho 
false church is, and still more plainly from tho 
following verse : "And these things will they do 
unto you, because they have not known the Father 
nor me." This is a most excellent description of 
the false church. It may have the office of the 
ministry and may boast of the name of God, but it 
is after all accursed, because it knows neither Christ 
nor the Father. 

When do we "know Christ and the Father?" 
Not when we read mass, or put on a cowl, or fast, 
or give alms, nor when we perform any other sim- 
ilar work; but only then do we know Him, when 
we believe that He is the Lamb of God which bore 
the sin of the world, and that He in our behalf be- 
came man, was crucified, dead and buried, and that 
He arose again on the third day and ascended into 
heaven. This knowledge and belief gives consola- 
tion, and a sure confidence in God that He will be 
gracious unto us for the sake of His Son. Thus 
will we "know also the Father," when we are 
assured that He is merciful unto us and prepared 
to forgive our sins for the sake of His Son, Jesus 
Christ. Where there is this knowledge and belief, 
there is the true Church, and wherever it is want- 
ing, there is the false church, even if the office of 
the keys and the name of God are there. If we 
consider these criterions well we can make no mis- 
take in judging where the true Church is. 

The division which in our day prevails in the 
Church perplexes many, so that they are in doubt 
to which part they should adhere. Their great 
mistake is that they do not apply the rule just now 
stated. We preach that man has no redemption 

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EXAUDI. 413 

from sin and death except in the death and resur- 
rection of Christ, and that whosoever has this faith 
shall be saved. But he who does not believe this 
cannot enter heaven, though he do ever so many- 
good works. This doctrine is taught plainly and 
powerfully both in the Old and in the New Testa- 
ment, as we shall show to you more fully on an- 
other occasion. But what is the consequence of 
this our preaching? The Pope and his multitude 
persecute us on account of this doctrine ; they ex- 
communicate us and call us heretics, and desire to 
kill us, because we hold this faith. They teach 
that man must work out his own salvation, or he 
cannot enter heaven. They hold that Christ merely 
made satisfaction for our original sin, but that we 
must with good works satisfy the wrath of God for 
every actual sin which we have committed after 
our baptism. How does such teaching correspond 
with a knowledge of Christ ? Surely, if Christ 
made satisfaction for our sins, we need not do it. 
Good works ought indeed to be done by us, but not 
for the purpose of thereby atoning for our sins, or 
of purchasing an entrance into heaven. 

By this rule we -can easily judge which is the 
true Church. We are excommunicated because we 
know no other righteousness and grace but that 
which Christ gained for us by His death and resur- 
rection. The Pope and his church, on the other 
hand, seek their salvation in their own works, 
merits and satisfaction, which surely indicates that 
they know neither Christ nor the Father. Since 
we then have this great treasure, to know Christ 
aright, while they are ignorant of Him, let us be 
undismayed and undisturbed if they who know not 

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Christ nor the Father anathematize us and call us 
the devil's church. We will rather concern our- 
selves with the knowledge of the Son and of the 
Father, because if we know God aright we are 
secure, and will not heed the senseless squealing of 
the Pope, who boasts so haughtily of his church, 
and hands us over to the devil. 

We comfort ourselves with the knowledge that 
the day will come when a far different judgment 
will be passed upon us, when God Himself, with 
His unerring sentence, will declare us free from the 
false judgment and ban of men, and will own us as 
His Church before His holy angels. On earth it 
will ever be as Christ says in our text ; there will 
be two churches, the one ever at war with the 
other. The false church has the sword in hand, 
and with it defends itself against all public rebuke 
and punishment ; wherefore it is evident that the 
Pope and his crowd cannot be the true Church, for 
of her it is said in our Gospel that she will be per- 
secuted and put under ban : "They shall put you 
out of the synagogues." Whom does Christ mean 
by the little word "you ?" Does He not therewith 
designate His own beloved disciples and apostles? 
These shall be "put out" and killed. By whom? 
By those who call themselves the synagogue, the 

The same holds true in our day. Therefore we 
fear not their proscription and persecution, but 
patiently submit to it, knowing that true Christians 
and the true Church are thus proved and made 
manifest. We of course speak here ouly of those 
who are thus hated and persecuted because they 
know the Son and His Father. The Anabaptists 

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EX AUDI. * 415 *■ 

and other sects are also persecuted and suffer much ; 
but they do not know Christ and the Father ; for 
they deny the blessing which God bestowed upon 
them in their first baptism, and establish a new 
kind of monkish life, with the purpose of obtaining 
thereby a merciful God and an entrance into heaven. 
The true Church, however, knows Christ and the 
Father; she consoles herself with the knowledge 
that only in Christ is God reconciled unto us ; aijd 
for this consolation and hope she is persecuted. 
But she suffers uncomplainingly ; it is nothing new 
to her, for Christ has prophesied this ; therefore 
she submits, and lets the Pope with his followers 
call her a heretical church and the devil's home. 
The true Church can look complacently on the fury 
of her tormentors; she knows Christ and the 
Father, and is well assured that the Pope and his 
multitude, much as they vaunt themselves^ have no 
knowledge of God, and therefore they persecute 
the believers. The true Church suffers willingly 
with Christ, looking in faith t o that time when she 
will triumph with Him in glory everlasting. God 
grant us all this glorious triumph through Christ 
and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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Acts 2, 1-4. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they 
were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a 
sound from leaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the 
house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven 
tongues like as of fire, aud it sat upon each of them. And they were 
all filled with the Hoty Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, 
as the Spirit gave them utterance. 

<p|[jp>he word Pentecost is Greek, and means in 
f^j|g|} this connection the fiftieth day. Pentecost 
was with the Jews a great festival, occurring fifty 
days after Easter, and was kept in commemoration 
of the delivery unto them of the ten commandments, 
which took place at mount Sinai* fifty days after 
they had eaten the passover and left the land of 
Egypt. This event was a great blessing to the 
people ; in it God Himself revealed unto them His 
will from heaven, that they might know what is 
pleasing to Him and what is displeasing. That 
this great and important event might be well 
remembered, God commanded Israel to keep holy 
the fiftieth day after Easter; for thus should the 
people learn to value more and more the blessing of 
God contained in the revelation of His will and to 
remember the promise which they made to keep 
His eommahdmeuts, as we plainly read in the 19. 
and 20. chapters of Exodus. 

The events which occurred in the- Old Testament, 
and which were of great importance to the Jews, 
were only an example of what should happen in 
the new dispensation, in the time of grace, as St. 
Paul speaks of it, 1 Cor. 10. The blood of the lamb 

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with which they stained their doorposts in Egypt 
had no other virtue but to cause the destroying 
angel to pass by and to spare their first-born ; the 
blood of our Easter Lamb, of Christ Jesufc, has 
more power than this : it frees us from the bondage 
of that most dreadful Egypt, the slavery and 
tyranny of the devil, and redeems us from sin and 
eternal death. Therefore we have a far better 
Easter sacrifice than they had of old. So we have 
in the New Testament a far better Pentecost than 
that which the ancient Israelites celebrated. 

They received the Ten Commandments at mount 
Sinai. These contain a necessary, good and preci- 
ous revelation of God's will, for which thanks are 
due unto Him ; yet such revelatiou assists us noth- 
ing against the power of the devil, of sin and of 
death. The law -only makes us greater sinners, 
and prompts our conscience to accuse and to 
threaten us before God, since we fall far short of 
doing what is commanded. 

As the circumstances amid which the law was 
given on mount Sinai were terrible, when thunder 
and lightning intermingled and the whole mount- 
ain smoked and quaked, so the law still terrifies 
guilty hearts and makes them sore afraid, so that 
they tremble and know not what to do for terror. 
To know what God demands of us and at the same 
time to be conscious of our transgressions, must 
neccessarily arouse our fears and fill the soul with 
anxiety ; for we all know what God threatens those 
who break His commandments, namely, eternal 
death and every misery. Hence this Pentecost of 
the Jews is an unpleasant, terrifying feast, destitute 
of all happiness. It appeared so horrible and awful 

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that the Jews implored Moses in these words: 
"Speak thou with us, and we will hear : but let not 
God speak with us, lest we die." 

How different from this is our Pentecost! It 
has no terror, but is full of cheer and glory and 
happiness and joy. We have heard how the Evan- 
gelist narrates the event : When the day of Pente- 
cost was fully come, while the Jews were busy with 
thanksgiving for the possession of the Ten Com^ 
mandments, and considered the occurrence on 
mount Sinai, the apostles and other Christians 
were also assembled in a certain house. Then 
there came of a sudden a sound from heaven as of 
a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house 
where they were sitting. At the same time there 
appeared unto them cloven tongues like flames of 
fire, flickering heavenwards; and thus the Holy 
Ghost was publicly seen and heard. He was heard 
in the mighty rushing of the wind, and was seen in 
the flames of fire. Thus Christ had promised it, 
and John the Baptist had prophesied : "You shall 
be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost." 

This occurrence has its peculiar reason and 
meaning. The cloven tongues indicate that the 
preaching of the Gospel shall not be in vain ; that 
it will move the hearts and kindle a new light in 
them, as we shall explain further on. Soon after 
the rushing of the wind and the appearance of these 
flames of fire, "they were all fitted with the Holy 
Ghost," who enlightened their hearts and encom- 
passed them to such a degree, that* they immediately 
knew Christ aright, and understood all the Scrip- 
tures, and took such courage that they would not 
keep to themselves this knowledge, but preached it 

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publicly and boldly. Besides this there occurred 
the glorious miracle that they could speak in every 
language, though before they understood only their 
mother-tongue. For this was the prophesy, that 
the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel should 
be at Jerusalem, and that from there it should 
spread abroad right quickly and boldly in every 
tongue, as the prophets had foretold. The Holy 
Ghost taught the disciples these various tongues on 
Pentecost, as an assurance that the Gospel should 
pass on beyond the boundaries of Judea and be 
preached # throughout the whole world. This then 
is our Pentecost, the one of the New Testament, on 
which we are not afraid of God, but learn to know 
Him aright. We are glad and rejoice. Our con- 
science shall not frighten us, for Christ is our 
Saviour; in Him we have courage in the presence 
of God; and for His sake we are ready to endure 
all suffering, as is seen in the example of the apos- 

Christ prophesied of such a Pentecost in His last 
sermon, as did also the prophets David, Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Joel, Zechariah, and others. Let us 
therefore commemorate this day by preaching of 
the Holy Ghost, of His office and work, and how 
we ought to regard it if we would have a happy 
Pentecost and receive the Holy Spirit. 

Think not, my beloved, that the Holy Ghost was 
not active in the Church and among men before 
this day. He is God from eternity, and omnipotent. 
Chrifct says : "He proceedeth from the Father," 
therefore He must be of the same nature and essence 
with the Father. We have furthermore reliable 
testimonies of the workings of the Holy Spirit in 

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the hearts of men in all ages, showing that He 
enlightened and governed them according to the 
will of God. Christ says that the Holy Ghost 
spake through the prophets, and St. Peter makes 
the same statement. The Evangelists also tell us 
that the aged Simeon, and Anna, and Zacharias, 
Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, were filled with 
the Holy Ghost. 

Hence we must think and believe of the Holy 
Ghost as we do of Christ the Son of God, who is 
from eternity and who, soon after the first promise 
given of Him in Paradise, began His work of oppos- 
ing the devil and crushing his head. This deed, 
begun and carried on long before His coming into 
this world in the form of our humanity, Christ 
completed when, in the fullness of time, He became 
man incarnate, died upon the cross, and on the 
third day arose again from the dead. In a similar 
manner has the Holy Ghost been continually active 
in the world. He ever and anon brought men to 
believe in God by means of the divine Word ; He 
enlightened, strengthened, comforted, and guided 
them into all truth. 

This work, carried on secretly before, He now 
for the first time made public with power and might 
on this glorious day of Pentecost. Every one 
present on this occasion saw and felt the miraculous 
power of the Holy Spirit, and had to confess it. 
For the few who ventured to contradict this man- 
ifestation of the Holy Ghost by saying that the 
apostles were full of new wine, were simply mali- 
cious liars; their reason must have convinced them 
that the knowledge of foreign languages is not 
acquired by getting drunk. 

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Why was this out-pouring of the Holy Ghost 
postponed until this day of Pentecost? For this 
reason, that we might know this great blessing to 
be ours alone through Christ Jesus. He gained for 
us these gifts, and alone through Him can we 
obtain them, as we saw from the 68. Psalm, which 
we considered on Ascension-day. In this Psalm 
we read : "He ascended on high and has received 
gifts for men ;" and St. Peter, referring to these 
words in his powerful sermon ou this day, says: 
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, 
and having received of the Father the promise of 
the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye 
now see and hear." 

This lesson we therefore learn first of all from 
our text, thatthe Holy Ghost did not for the first 
time assume and execute His work and office on 
the day of Pentecost, but that He has ever been 
active in His Church. Yet on this glorious festival 
He for the first time made His workings especially 
potent and public, that it might become manifest 
what a precious gift our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ obtained for us by His sufferings and death. 

Another lesson we learn from our text. Just as 
the Scriptures designate the Lord by an especial 
name, calling Him the Son of God, the Word and 
the Image of the Father, so they also call the Spirit 
of God "the Holy Ghost," who inspires, moves and 
sanctifies the hearts which before were corrupt and 
full of sins. The Christians therefore rejoice at this 
name, because they are well aware of their own 
weakness in the conflict with the devil ; they are 
comforted, however, since they know that they, 
through Christ, have on their side the fioly Ghost, 

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who strengthens them against the attacks *of the 
evil spirit, who forgives their sins, and admonishes 
them to true obedience towards God. 

How the Holy Ghost accomplishes this is taught 
us by Christ Himself, John 16, where He says: 
"And when He is come, He will reprove the world 
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." 
The works of the Holy Trinity are therefore dis- 
tinguished from each other in our Creed, for the 
purpose of instructing our youth and the unen- 
lightened. We confess that the Triune God, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, created us for His kingdom 
and gave us our life and body. After our first 
parents fell through sin into death, thus bringing 
upon themselves and all their descendants the puu- 
ishment of God, Christ the Son of God became 
man for us, reconciled the Father, and redeemed us 
by His death from sin and everlasting condemna- 
tion. This redemption is now proclaimed by the 
Holy Ghost to the world through the holy Gospel, 
whereby the hearts are enlightened and changed, 
so that they accept the truth aud believe that Christ 
died for them, that an atonement has been made, 
that their sins are forgiven, aud that God is now 
reconciled in Christ. Thus the hearts are purified 
and sanctified by faith, as St. Peter declares, Acts 15. 

Where there is forgiveness of sins through faith, 
there we can rejoice and be comforted on account 
of the death and resurrection of Christ, even though 
sin is yet in us. There also will follow another 
manifestation of the Holy Ghost in our life ; He 
will also sanctify our bodies, so tnat we will not 
burden our conscience with sin, nor love it and 
cherish it as before, but will strive to shuu it and 

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to lead a life pleasing to God. Thus St. Paul 
teaches when he says, Eph. 4 : "Let him that stole, 
steal no more : but rather let him labor, working 
with his hands the thing which is good, that he 
may have to give to him that needeth." It is the 
office and work of the Holy Ghost to create within 
us a new and true obedience towards God, so that 
we may withstand sin, crucify the old Adam, and 
obtain the forgiveness of all our sins through faith. 

But this latter sanctification is not so perfect as 
the former, and is entirely dependent upon it. Our 
flesh and blood are too weak, and the devil is too 
powerful to admit of perfect obedience on our part; 
besides, we have now only the first fruits of the 
Holy Spirit. But what is wanting in our obedience 
and holiness is supplied by the other sanctification, 
in which we have forgiveness of sins through faith, 
so that we are perfectly just and holy; for the sin 
and corruption still inhering in us are forgiven. 
Thus we can understand why the Holy Spirit is so 
called, namely, because He purifies the believers; 
that is through the Word He implants in our hearts 
faith in Christ, whereby we have forgiveness of 
sins, and begiu to be obedient unto God. 

The Holy Ghost has yet other appellations from 
His various manifestations of power in us, all of 
which pertain to our sanctification. The prophet 
Zechariah calls Him "Spirit of grace and supplica- 
tion," because He moves the hearts to truat in God 
and to cry unto Him for help in every distress. 
Christ calls Him "Comforter," because He strength- 
ens the hearts to suffer willingly and not to be 
afraid of any evil, as we saw in the Gospel of last 
Sunday. Again Christ calls this Spirit "the Spirit 

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of truth," because He guards us from falsehoods 
and heresy, and retains us in the Word and true 
doctrine, against which the devil and our reason 
argue for the purpose of leading us astray and 
deceiving us. 

Such are the principal works of the Holy Ghost. 
But He also adorns the faithful with all manner of 
gifts and virtues and, as Jesus declares, is a Com- 
forter, who remains with us when the world, with 
its consolation, is powerless and cf no effect. 

Sincie the Holy Ghost is sent to work in us such 
glorious results, it is of importance for us to learn 
how we can obtain such blessings and the Holy 
Spirit, so that He may also be active in us and 
sanctify and save us. Christ our Saviour speaks of 
this in Luke 11, wheii He says : "If ye then, being 
evil, know how to give good gifts unto your 
children: how much more shall your heavenly 
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" 
Let us well remember this declaration, and learn 
that God alone gives the Holy Spirit, that He gives 
Him only to them who ask for Him, who are earn- 
est in their supplication for His possession. Let 
then our heartfelt prayer be this : O'God, grant us 
Thy Holy Spirit ! Let us not doubt, but continue 
in such prayer. Christ Himself instructs us to 
pray thus unto our heavenly Father. 

But this prayer, like every other prayer, must be 
in the name of Jesus. "We ought to implore God 
that He would give us the Holy Ghost for the sake 
of Jesus Christ, His dear Son. And this we can do 
without hesitation, as we saw on Ascension-day, 
because Christ went on high, unto the Father, to 
obtain for us this gift and to transmit it uhto us. 4 


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Hence we can pray for it with full assurance. We 
have both the command to pray for the Holy Spirit 
ahd the promise that we shall receive Him; for 
Christ ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the 
right hand of the Father, that He might give us 
these gifts, which He has obtained from the Father, 
not indeed for Himself, but for men, as we read in 
the 68. Psalm. 

Yet prayer alone is not sufficient. If we secluded 
ourselves from others and prayed for the Holy 
Ghost, neglecting the Word and Sacraments, our 
prayer would be of little value. For it is God's 
order that the Holy Ghost shall be efficacious only 
through the Word and the Holy Sacraments. If 
we therefore refrain from these means of grace, we 
will never receive the Holy Spirit. Hence we are 
baptized, and come to the Lord's Supper, and hear 
God's Word preached, and desire absolution ; for 
we know that all these are means by which the 
Holy Ghost accomplishes His work in us. We 
have many examples to prove this. The three 
thousand souls who were on this day converted 
through the preaching of Peter, would have re- 
mained in their ignorance and sin all the days of 
their life, if they had not heard the Gospel ; but 
they did hear the Word, and were moved by it, and 
were baptized. Christ has moreover ordained it 
thus. The eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia could 
not receive the Holy Ghost before Philip had 
preached the Scriptures unto him. When the Holy 
Spirit had moved the heart of the eunuch, it was 
His will that Philip should yet baptize him with 

If, therefore, we desire to obtain the gift of the 



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Holy Ghost we must, first of all, pray earnestly for 
it unto the Father iu the name of Christ ; then we 
must diligently use the Word, and remember our 
promise made in Baptism; we must frequently 
hear the absolution and go to the Lord's Supper. 
Through the Word and Sacraments the Holy Ghost 
is active in our hearts, and enkindles in them a 
new light, the light of faith, so that we do not sim- 
ply hear the Word, as did also the obstinate Jews, 
but retain and understand it, and through it become 
different persons with renewed hearts. 

Finally, it is necessary that we do not hinder the 
operations of the Holy Ghost in us, or even drive 
Him entirely from us, by a lawless, wicked life and 
malicious indulgence of sin. The Holy Spirit can- 
not occupy the same dwelling with the devil. If 
therefore the devil tormeuts us with avarice, anger, 
lewdness, and other sins, let us be quick to pray 
God for His assistance, that we may overcome these 
terrible temptations and remain faithful unto Him. 
If we wish to have and to retain the Holy Spirit, 
we must avoid such gross sins; or if we through 
our natural weakness fall into them, we must 
arouse ourselves speedily, and not be entangled 
permanently in their meshes. 

Then the noly Spirit is ready to assist us, accord- 
ing to our prayer, in our contest against the devil, 
our own flesh, and sin. On the other hand, they 
who consciously give themselves up to sin will be 
possessed of the devil more and more, nor can they, 
without repentance, receive the Holy Spirit, whose 
office it is, as I have already shown, to lead us 
through faith to the forgiveness of sins, and to help 
us to resist evil and to grow in grace. 

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But it is also true, my beloved, as already men- 
tioned, that after all we receive only the first fruits 
of the Holy Spirit whilst we live in the body here 
on earth. Hence it happens that they also who 
have the Holy Spirit are yet weak and often fall 
into sin. Let no one be offended on this account 
and say, with the Anabaptists, that he who has the 
Holy Spirit cannot sin. It is true, if we always 
heeded the admonitions of the Holy Ghost we would 
not fall into sin, but it is impossible for us to do 
this ; the devil is too mighty, the wicked world too 
corrupt, and our flesh and blood are too weak. 
Therefore we must constantly pray that God in 
mercy may not take from us His Holy Spirit, that 
He may retain us in His grace, and daily increase 
within us the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and forgive 
us our trespasses, as we entreat in the Lord's Prayer. 
Even the saints are guilty of trespasses, but through 
faith in Jesus these are forgiven and become harm- 

Thus we see what the Pentecost of the New 
Testament is. It is a festival in which the Chris- 
tians ought to rejoice, because it is far more glori- 
ous than that of the Jews. Through Christ* the 
Holy Ghost was poured out upon all flesh, so that 
we now have a knowledge of God in the light of 
the Gospel, and can become, by the Holy Spirit, 
righteous and sanctified in body and soul. Let us 
to this end be earnest in prayer, in hearing the 
preaching of the Word of God, and in an unblama- 
ble walk before men. May the Holy Spirit, through 
Christ our Lord, help us in this. Amen. 

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John 14, 23-31. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love 
me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love him, and we 
will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth 
me not keepeth not my sayings : and the Word which ye hear is not 
mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken 
unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is 
the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall 
teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, 
whatsoever 1 have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace 
I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not 
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how 
i said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved 
me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father : for my 
Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to 
pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I 
will not talk much with you ; for the prince of this world cometh, 
and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love 
the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even sol do. 
Arise, let us go hence. 

|ffl^his Gospel is a part of the exhortation which 
^^g Christ addressed to His disciples on the even- 
ing before His sufferings, -and contains words of 
especial importance. Christ would teach us in 
these words how vain is the endeavor to obtain a 
knowledge of God and to come to Him without 
loving: the Saviour. Where this is wanting, our 
thoughts of God and our devotion are without 
assurance and we cannot apprehend Him. But if 
we low Christ we can come to the Father and He 
will love us. 

How is it that Christ here speaks of love and 
does not say, as He is wont to say : "Believe in 
nie ?" Is love more efficacious than faith that He 

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says: "If a man loves me?" We answer: The 
sense is the same; man cannot truly love Christ 
unless he believes in Him and is comforted in Him. 
The word "love" is in this case plainer and more 
forcible, because it indicates so nicely, how our 
hearts should turn from everything else in heaveu 
and on^earth, and should cling alone to this Man, 
Jesus Christ. For we know how love, according 
to its very nature, concentrates all its energies upon 
the object of its devotion, and remains attached to 
it, regardless of aught else in the wide world. It is 
the Lord's will that we should thus cherish and 
love Him with our whole heart. This we cannot 
do except through faith. Hence this declaration 
concerning love does not in the least detract any- 
thing from faith, but rather instructs us as to the 
true character and efficacy of faith. 

The word "love" is also used in this connection, 
because Christ foresaw with what great difficulties 
he would have to contend who would receive His 
Word and persevere in it. Manifold tribulations, 
which tend to arouse impatience and dissatisfaction, 
will present themselves. Besides these, the tempt- 
ation is near at hand to think : I am myself to 
blame for what I endure; why did I preach and 
confess the Word publicly ? If I had kept my peace 
and had exercised within myself only the faith in 
God's Word and His gifts, no one would have 
molested me, and others, more competent than I, 
might have more successfully undertaken the task 
of a public confession and of teaching. Now I am 
in a great strait, for I am not only unsuccessful in 
my attempt, but am also in danger of losing my 
life for it. Such disquieting thoughts and tempta- 

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tions to despair cannot be overcome and banished 
from our hearts, nor can we immovably adhere to 
the Word, unless we have within us that love, of 
which Christ speaks in our text. Then every 
preacher, yea, every Christian, can exclaim: Let 
happen what will, I will nevertheless hold fast to 
the Word and will never deny my Lord and Saviour; 
for I enlisted in His cause for His glory, and not to 
please men, therefore I will endure all to the very 
end. » 

When such love is wanting, we cannot do the 
will of our Lord unceasingly, for He does not 
reward us with worldly honors and wealth, but 
with life everlasting. This is what Christ teaches 
us here. He tells us : My reward yoji will obtain 
in the life to come ; therefore you must above all 
things have love towards me, for then you will ad- 
here to my Word under all circumstances, even at 
the risk of your life. But if this love is lacking in 
your hearts you will not keep my Word, but will 
yield to danger, adversity and tribulation, which 
will finally plunge you into impatience and despair. 

He who knows Christ in true faith and love will 
not be dismayed at these adversities, but will meet 
them boldly, convinced of the assistance of his 
Lord, and strong in the knowledge that He died, 
was burled, and arose again for us, and that there- 
fore He cannot be opposed to our welfare. Thus 
love is intimately connected with faith and over- 
comes all danger and misfortune, without regarding 
the displeasure and wrath of the world. True love 
concerns itself about Christ and His Word, and 
pays no attention to the anger of the world. 

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Christ refers to this when He says : "If a man 
love me, he will keep my words." These words 
are those concerning His death and resurrection, 
not the word of Moses or the Ten Commandments. 
These ought also to be reverenced and obeyed, as 
God aforetime ordered it, but they contain not the 
consolation of the Gospel ; they do not pacify the 
conscience, but rather increase the dread and fear 
of God's displeasure ; and this in proportion as we 
realize our weakness and transgressions. The 
Word of our Lord Jesus Christ, however, is the 
greatest and best gift. Christ says of those who 
possess this treasure and firmly hold to it under all 
circumstances, that the Father will love them. 

It is a peculiarity of St. John, which is not so 
perceptible in the other Evangelists, to direct peo- 
ple first to Christ, and then through Him to the 
Father. And tbus it must be, as Christ Himself 
says in our text. We must first know Jesus and 
love Him; we must have full confidence in His 
condescension and loving kindness. Where this 
love and confidence prevail, there there can be no 
doubt as to the love of the Father toward us. We 
will then disregard everything else that might dis- 
turb us, being assured that God is gracious to us 
through Christ. We will fear neither sin, the devil 
nor death, because God loves us, inasmuch as we 
love Christ. 

Surely, this is an unparalleled consolation in 
every distress. O, that we would but earnestly 
entertain the knowledge and practice the belief 
that God is not wroth toward us, but that He kindly 
smiles upon us because we love Christ and keep 
His words. Yet it is very difficult for us to have 

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this faith in our hearts in the time of tribulation. 
We are too apt to harbor the contrary belief, that 
God is our enemy and cares not for us, but is ready 
to slay us. Such thoughts are wrong. Christ 
speaks the truth when He says: If you love me 
and keep my words ; if you truly rejoice at the fact 
that I have redeemed you from the thralldom of 
the devil and the baneful power of sin ; if you be- 
lieve that death shall not devour you, but that eter- 
nal life shall be yours according to my Word, then 
will the Father surely love you also, and will mani- 
fest His love by coming with the Son and the Holy 
Ghost to abide with you. 

This is indeed a blessed consolation, that the 
Christian need not concern himself how he may 
ascend into heaven. We are in heaven, though we 
be at Jerusalem, at Rome, in the field or in our 
houses, or any where else on earth ; for God the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost will come to 
us and abide with us. This blessing we have on 
earth through the Word, and faith brings it into 
our hearts; but after death we will also be with 
the Father iu heaven. 

The abode of God with us on earth secures us 
His blessing, which He kindly bestows upon all 
that we do in His fear and love, whether it be that 
we work, or speak, or suffer, whether we eat or 
drink, whether we arise or lie down, whether we 
pray, read, study or sing. This indeed constitutes 
a kingdom of heaven on earth. Would that we 
could see it as we should, and believe it. Heaven 
itself has not this privilege which the Christian has. 
God does not say that He will dwell in it, but calls 
it His throne and the earth His footstool. The 


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heart of the Christian, however, if it believes in 
Christ and knows, in true faith, that He suffered 
and died for us and therefore loves Him, shall be 
an abode of God. 

Thus all our welfare depends upon our love of 
Christ. This love will make all our burdens light, 
and will alleviate the pains and sorrows which we 
endure on account of Him and His Word. Else it 
would be impossible for us not to despair, or tp be 
patient, or to abide with Christ, as He Himself 
says : "He that loveth me not, keepeth not my say- 

Whosoever loves Christ has the promise that the 
Father, for Christ's sake, will not merely love him 
also, but that He will even come, together with the 
Son and the Holy Ghost, to abide with him. This 
promise is so precious and glorious that we should 
steadfastly cling to it, and with it we ought to be 
ready to suffer patiently everything that may befall 
us. But if we should accept the Gospel from any 
other motive than the love of Christ, if we should 
thereby seek only carnal benefits, as the world is so 
apt to do, then will we, surely, not long continue 
to keep the Word. It is necessary for us to have 
this love, if we would remain steadfast in trials and 
dangers. Money and worldly constraint cannot 
produce this effect. 

If then we desire to be true Christians who ad- 
here to the Word, we should ever be ready with 
this declaration : We began our undertaking in the 
name of Christ and to His honor, therefore it can- 
not fail, whatever may betide us. 

Why is it so important that we keep the Word 

of Christ and be not separated from it in danger or 

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distress? Because Christ thus continues in our 
text : "And the Word which ye hear is not mine, 
but the Father' 8 which sent me." Christ frequently 
uses similar expressions, which are indeed of the 
utmost importance. They contain this doctrine: 
If man has once accepted Christ in true faith and 
adheres firmly to His Word, he may rest assured 
that the true God is his God, and that he needs 
none other; for God can be fully known only in 
Christ, as He Himself teaches when He says : "The 
Word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's 
which sent me." If therefore we accept this Word, 
we accept the Father; if we believe it, we believe 
in the Father. 

Hence we can judge affairs around us very readily. 
The Mohammedans, the infidels, the Pope and the 
Jews, speak much of God, pray often, and claim to 
be very faithful, but it is clear that they all are far 
removed from the Father, and know Him not. 
They keep not the Word of Christ which is that of 
the Father, in which He proclaims forgiveness of 
sins and eternal life unto all who have the Son. 
Yea, we are even persecuted because we teach that 
men cannot be saved by their own works or merits, 
but alone through Christ. 

The Lord would therefore caution and instruct 
His disciples in these words which we are now con- 
sidering. He tells them this: If you would hear 
God and have Him with you, you must not turn 
your eyes and ears away from me. If you hear me 
you hear God ; if you see me you see God ; for thus 
it is ordained, that the. Father is revealed and made 
known either through me or else not at all. Hence 
it is, that when Christ speaks a word of love and 

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grace the Father approves of it also, yea, it is then 
spoken by the Triune God, nor can the world or 
the devil resist its power. The Word of Christ is 
not His own, but that of the Father, as He dis- 
tinctly asserts : "The Word which ye hear is not 
mine, but the Father's which sent me." 

These words are so simple that the learned of 
this world deem them tame and imperfect. They 
think that such important matters as are implied 
in these words ought to be more forcibly described. 
But if we examine carefully Ihese simple and ap- 
parently unsatisfactory words, we will find them 
full of life and consolation. 

This we learn from the following words of Christ: 
"These things have I spoken unto you, being yet 
present with you. But the Comforter, which is the 
Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my 
name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all 
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have 
said unto you." It is not the great number of 
words that makes the teaching plain and intelligi* 
ble ; if the Holy Ghost is not at the same time 
present with us, all will be obscure. 

The remainder of this Gospel contains the con- 
clusion of those comfortable assurances which the 
Lord gave to His disciples in this entire chapter, 
namely, that they should rejoice and be glad, aud 
not be offended on account of His shameful death, 
which would accrue to their great advantage. Of 
this we treat more fully on the festival of St. Philip 
and St. James. 

Let us then heed the important lesson which 
Christ teaches us in our Gospel to-day ; let us keep 
the Word of God, and not be turned away from it 

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by any danger. This we cannot do unless we love 
Christ ; and if we love Him, God will also love us 
and will make His abode with us. This is the only 
way to be with God, and whosoever seeks another 
way besides that of love to Christ, will never see the 
Father, though he may suffer much and do many 
good works. They are all in vain. 

Inasmuch as Christ tells us : "The Word which 
ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent 
me," it behooves every one to reject all words and 
doctrines which do not proceed from His lips. If 
we do this, we are sure to find God and to have His 
blessings, of which we would otherwise be entirely 
destitute. But, alas! it is now as it was in the 
Old Testameut with the Jews. They had the 
mercy-seat in the tabernacle ; there they were com- 
manded to pray and to worship, and nowhere else; 
but instead of complying with this command they 
selected other places && they wished, and worshiped 
there. Thus it is to-day. Christ however says : If 
ye would fiud the Father and be beloved by Him, 
come first to me, love me, and accept my Word. 

Do the Anabaptists, the Jews, the Turks and the 
Pope comply with this instruction? No, verily! 
They deny Christ and His Word, and follow human 
traditions. The Pope trusts in the mass, in vows, 
in the assistance of dead saints. The Anabaptist 
trusts in outward observances and discipline, in the 
style of his coat and in his refusal to carry arms. 
The Jews and Mohammedans have likewise their 
nostrums. Let us, my beloved, avoid this great 
mistake ; let us come to Christ alone and keep His 
Word, for the command is plain : "Him shall ye 
hear." And Christ says in our text : "The words 

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which ye hear are my Father's words." It is 
therefore impossible that any one could come to 
God and be pleasing unto Him who does not first 
hear Christ and love Him. 

May our Father in heaven grant us grace that 
we may love Christ and keep His "Word through 
the Holy Ghost, so that we may obtain eternal 
salvation. Amen. 

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John 3, 16-21. For God so loved the world, that He gave His 
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not per- 
ish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the 
world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might 
be saved. He that believeth on Hiin is not condemned : but he that 
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in 
the name of the only begctten Son of God. And this is the condem- 
nation, that light is come into the world, and meu loved darkness 
rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that 
doeth evil hateth the light, neither conieth to the light, lest his deeds 
should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, 
that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

effMhis Gospel is one of the most precious pas- 
§^§§ sages in the whole New Testament, and fully 
deserves, if it could be done, to be written with 
golden letters into our hearts. Every Christian 
ought to learn this consoling text by heart, and 
should repeat it once at least each day, so that we 
would know these words well and could readily 
apply them for our consolation and the strengthen- 
ing of our faith. They are words which have 
power to gladden us when we are sad and to bring 
us back to life when we are dead, if we but accept 
them earnestly in true faith. But inasmuch as it 
is impossible for us to comprehend fully and to ex- 
press properly the contents of this glorious text, 
let us pray earnestly unto God to impress these 
words deeply upon our hearts through His Holy 
Spirit, so that they may become powerful in us, 
and may give us much joy und consolation, Amen. 
The sum and substance of this glorious, comfort- 
able and blessed passage is this, that God loved the 

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world so dearly that He gave His only begotten 
Son to save men from eternal death and to give 
them everlasting life. Christ our Lord speaks to 
us, as it were, in these words : Heed what I tell 
you of a peculiar, unheard-of occurrence; yea, I 
will point you to a great, precious and valuable 
treasure, which is totally unlike any earthly gifts, 
by which you can now be rich and blessed for 
evermore. All the circumstances connected with 
the bestowal and reception of this precious gift are 
so peculiar and overwhelmingly grand that human 
thoughts cannot compass them, and much less can 
our words express their great importance. 

If we consider first the Giver of this blessing, we 
find that the text says nothing of emperors, kings, 
or other dignitaries of the world, but it speaks of 
God Himself, who is incomprehensible and omnip- 
otent, who has created everything through His 
Word, who has all and preserves all and is over 
all, compared with whom all creation, heaven and 
earth, with all they contain, is but as an insignifi- 
cant grain of sand. He, the Almighty, is the great 
Giver of all blessings, and His gifts are so glorious 
that the most valued treasures of men, of emperors 
and kings, fade away into nothingness when com- 
pared with the mercies of God. Let us, therefore, 
rejoice greatly and sing for gladness in view of 
these blessings, and let us consider as mere trifles 
everything else that the world can bestow. "What 
indeed can be greater or more glorious than the 
Almighty Himself! 

This God, who is infinite and ineffable, manifests 
His loving kindness in a degree beyond all measure. 
What He gives He gives not as something merited, 

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or because it is His duty to give it, but simply, as 
our text says, through love. He is a Giver who 
begrudges not His gifts, but delights in bestowing 
them ; He gives on account of endless, divine love, 
as Christ says: "For God so loved the world." 

There is no other virtue so glorious as love. 
What we dearly love we are ready to defend and 
protect at the risk of our life. Patience, chastity, 
temperance, Ac, are also praiseworthy virtues, but 
cannot be compared with love ; she is queen over 
them all, and comprehends them all. Surely if one 
is pious and righteous, he will not defraud or injure 
his brother, but will assist him in everything; but 
if we love a person, we are ever ready to devote 
ourselves entirely to his welfare and to assist him, 
according as he has need, with our counsel and our 
possessions. Thus, as Christ declares in our text, 
does God also do toward us. He gives us blessings 
beyond measure, not because He is patient or be- 
cause we are righteous and deserve it, but through 
love, the greatest of all virtues. In view of this 
fact our hearts should awake, all our sadness should 
vanish, for we see before us the inexhaustible love 
of the divine heart, which we ought to cherish in 
true faith as the greatest of all gifts, knowing that 
God is the highest and most glorious Giver of 
blessings unto us, and that they all proceed from 
the greatest of all virtues. 

The fact that anything is given from true love 
makes the gift itself greater and more precious. If 
therefore we are convinced that love prompts the 
bestowal of any gift, we are well pleased ; but when 
we doubt the existence of this motive in the giver, 
we care but little for his gift. Thus if God had 

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given us only one eye or one foot and we were con- 
vinced that fatherly love prompted Him to do this, 
we would be entirely content and better satisfied 
than we would otherwise be if we had a hundred 
eyes and a hundred feet. 

But the words are plain : God so loved the 
world. Therefore we ought to value highly, on 
account of His love, all His gifts, especially those 
which He has ordained to our salvation and the 
strengthening of our faith, as Holy Baptism, the 
Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, &c. 
These gifts appear not brilliant before the world, 
yet unto us they are heaven itself, and make us 
glad and cheerful because they flow from the love 
of our Father toward us and are instituted for our 
benefit. Therefore Christ in this connection not 
only teaches us that God will give us something, 
but also in what manner He will do this, namely, 
through divine, fatherly love. 

Thus we see how great and ineffable are the 
Giver and the motive which prompts Him to grant 
us His blessings. But the gift itself is equally 
glorious and inexpressible. We hear from our text 
that God through love does not give us a dollar, a 
horse, a cow, an eye, a kingdom, or even the 
heavens with the sun and stars, nor the whole 
creation, but He gives us "His only begotten Son," 
who is like unto Himself in everything. 

This gift must surely arouse within us the deepest 
emotions of happiness, so that our hearts will ever 
be glad and leap for joy. Even as the Giver, God 
Himself, is endless and incomprehensible in His 
love, so the gift itself, His Son, is eternal and un- 
speakable. God in tUis gift bestows Himself with 

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all that He is, as St. Paul says, Rom. 8 : "He that 
spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for 
us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give 
us all things?" The victory over the devil, sin 
death and hell, as well as the gift of heaven, right- 
eousness and eternal life, is ours; yea all things are 
ours now, because we have the Son as our gift, in 
whom all else is comprehended. 

If we then truly believe in this gift and accept 
it in real faith, all creation, be it good or evil, be it 
life or death, heaven or hell, must be at our service, 
as St. Paul in auother place says : "For all things 
are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or 
the world, or life, or death, or things present, or 
things to come ; all are yours ; and ye are Christ's ; 
and Christ is God's." 1 Cor. 3. Indeed, if we fully 
consider this gift, we must confess and say that it 
is a boon which in value transcends all else in 
heaven and earth, and in comparison with which 
all treasures in the world are as a mite to a mount- 
ain of gold. But alas, our miserable unbelief and 
the terrible darkness which enshrouds us, as Christ 
Himself shortly after this complains, prevents our 
hearts from realizing w r hat a blessing we have in 
this gift of the Son of God ; we hear these glorious 
words, but they rush by our outward ears, and the 
heart remains cold and cheerless. When we hear 
of a house or farm which is for sale on easy terms, 
we run and are as eager to make the purchase as if 
our existence depended upon it; but when the 
glorious Gospel is preached, that God so loved the 
world that He gave His only begotten Son for its 
salvation, we are shamefully and sinfully careless 
and lazy about hearing and accepting this blessed 

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truth. Who is at the bottom of this wicked in- 
difference and carelessness as to the greatest gift, 
so that we do not accept it nor derive from it joy 
**nd consolation? No one but the old devil him- 
self ; he blinds our hearts to such a degree that we 
permit the preaching of this precious Gospel to go 
by unheeded, while we in the meanwhile busy our- 
selves with temporal cares. 

For this reason I remarked, at the beginning of 
this sermon, that we ought to repeat these words 
when we get out of bed in the morning and again 
when we retire in the evening, so that we may 
know them right well and praise God for His un- 
utterable blessings. For surely all, the Giver, His 
lave, and the gift bestowed so undeservedly, simply 
through love, are most glorious and beyond our 
comprehension. The gift is one freely given, and 
will ever remain a gracious blessing which cannot 
be borrowed, lent nor bought; all we have to do to 
obtain it is to hold out our baud and to receive 
willingly and gladly this treasure. Alas, that our 
hands and hearts arc so reluctant and even unwill- 
ing to take such a glorious gift, which is so freely 
ottered, and which is designed to be ours for ever- 

What shall those people be called who refuse to 
accept a kind gift and blessing? Suppose a poor, 
ragged beggar, nearly exhausted with hunger, 
meets with a great and charitable prince, who otters 
to give him a residence and a great yearly income, 
and to make him a lord, but that the beggar 
haughtily turns away from his benefactor without 
accepting his kindness, what would this foolish 
man be called by the world? Surely everybody 

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would say that he is crazy and acts more like a 
brute than a human being. This would be the 
verdict of the world. Here, however, there is 
offered to the world no palace nor principality, no 
kingdom nor imperial domain, but the Son of God, 
and God Himself urges the world to accept and 
keep this gift. But alas, we men are the ones who 
refuse to accept this gift ; we turn our backs upon 
God, the kind Giver. From this we can judge 
what a great and horrible sin unbelief is, for it is 
not natural that men should refuse a gift and will- 
ingly turn from it. 

This proves how mad and thoughtless the world 
is ; she does not rejoice at this gift of God, and 
refuses to receive it when offered. No doubt she 
would be quick to stretch out her hands for it if it 
were a dollar or a new coat ; but as it is the Son of 
God every one acts as if the gift were valueless. 

"The world" is mentioned by name in this con- 
nection as the ungrateful one who spurns this gift 
which is offered to her freely. For what has the 
world done to merit such love and mercy of God ? 
Nothing at all. She is the devil's bride, the greatest 
enemy of God and the greatest blasphemer. Yet 
we read here : "God so loved the world that He 
gave His only begotten Son." 

My hearer, inscribe this truth deeply in your 
heart. And since you have now heard who God 
is, and what His gift is, which He gives alone 
through love, hear also what the world is. She is 
constituted of a multitude of people who do not 
believe in God and who make Him a liar ; yea, they 
blaspheme His name aud Word, and persecute it. 
Hence they are those who disobey father and mother, 

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who are murderers, adulterers, treacherous persons, 
thieves, hypocrites, and the like, as we, alas, can 
see but too clearly every day of our life. The 
world is full of falsehood and blasphemy. Never- 
theless God, through love, gives His Son to this 
bride of the devil, His greatest foe and persecutor. 

This fact also magnifies the gift. God does not 
regard the sins and crimes of the world, nor her 
persecution of His name and Word, so as to with- 
hold His gift on that account. It would seem as if 
God were too holy and His gift too precious to 
endure the perversion and wickedness of the world. 
But God does not regard the sins of the world, 
whether they be against the first or against the 
second table of the law> as too great to permit the 
manifestation of His love toward her; yea, on 
account of her sins and great misery, in which we 
all would have to perish if God did not grant us 
His help, He is merciful, and prompted by His love 
He comes to our assistance. 

Ought we then not to love such a merciful God 
in return and to trust implicitly in Him who for- 
gives sins, and will not suffer the ungrateful world 
to perish for her transgressions, which are innumer- 
able ? Yea, the sins of every one of us are innum- 
erable; who then could enumerate the sins of the 
whole world ? Yet we read that God is ready to 
forgive all our transgressions ; for from the love of 
God comes the forgiveness of sins. We ought to 
consider this attentively. If God gives so much, 
yea even Himself to the world, which is His natural 
enemy, we are forced to conclude that His mercy 
and grace will also manifest itself toward us, no 
matter what our experiences are during this life. 

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Therefore we ought to trust in this love, and hope 
for every blessing from God for Christ's sake. 

Such thoughts must encourage the heart and 
make it glad. I and many Christians have to con* 
fess that while we were in popery we lived in great 
wickedness and idolatry, and were guilty of many 
a sin. God however did not punish such wicked- 
ness as we deserved, but manifested His love by 
revealing again through the Gospel His Son, whom 
He had given to the world. We were again per- 
mitted to hear and to understand the glorious Gos- 
pel, proclaiming that God is not wroth with the 
world, but that He loves us and has given His Son 
in our behalf. Alas, we are ungrateful and do not 
realize this truth as we should, else would our 
hearts be filled with joy, and we would be deter- 
mined not only to serve God right willingly, but 
also to suffer without complaint everything in His 
service, on account of the precious treasure which 
we have. It is our unbelief which prevents such 
joy and seeks the pleasures of the world, which 
come from the devil and are accursed. 

We have now considered four parts in our text, 
namely, the Giver of the gift, the gift itself, how it 
is given, and to whom it is given. It is impossible 
to express fully in words the great importance of 
these four considerations. 

Now follows the causa jinalis, what purpose God 
has in view in the besttfwal of this gift. "ft con- 
tains no outward advantages for us ; we are neither 
clothed by it, nor fed, nor sheltered: much less is 
it injurious to our bodies; it contains no poison. 
Thus He gives His Word, Baptism and the Sacra- 
ment of the Altar, not to our injury but to our sal* 

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vation. This gift of the only begotten Son is 
granted unto us to this end, that whosoever believ- 
eth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting 

From this declaration we learn that this gift does 
not bring us money, goods, honor or power in this 
world, for all such benefits would be but transitory. 
Yea, if we had all these things we would neverthe- 
less still be under the dominion of the devil. But 
now when the Son of God is given us, through the 
Father's love toward us, it follows that we are freed 
from sin, death and hell, if we believe in the Saviour ; 
for He crushed the head of the serpent and despoiled 
it of its power; He slew sin and devoured death 
and extinguished the fire of hell, so that they are 
all vanquished for evermore and deprived of their 
supremacy over us. So great and glorious was this 
gift. Honor, praise and glory be unto God, the 
merciful Giver of this blessing, for ever and for 
ever, Amen. 

Surely we have reason enough to feel happy at 
this occurrence, especially since Christ Himself 
asserts in our text that He was given us to over- 
power hell and to make our timid hearts bold and 
full of cheerfulness. Through the firm assurance 
that we have a reconciled God in heaven, who loves 
us and who through love gave His Son for us, so 
that we should not perish but have everlasting life, 
we are made glad ; for we know that death has now 
no authority over us, and that eternal life is ours 
in Christ. 

This truth we cannot learn or understand too 
well ; therefore we ought to pray every day that 

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God may through His Holy Spirit inscribe these 
words deeply in our hearts, that these may be illum- 
ined and enlivened thereby. Then will we become 
true theologiaus, who know Christ aright and ad- 
here to His doctrine, prepared to sufter for this 
faith all ills and adversities which, in the providence 
of God, may visit us. But inasmuch as we do not 
value these words as we should, and only hear 
them with our outward ears, they cannot prove 
their power in our hearts ; we remain to-day as we 
were yesterday, and it is a sin and a shame that we 
see not with our eyes nor hear with our ears. Most 
certainly will the damned cry out on the day of 
judgment and lament, because they were so careless 
about the preaching and hearing of these words of 
consolation while yet on earth. 

Let us now consider in what way this glorious 
gift ought to be received, in what receptacle this 
precious treasure should be securely laid and 
guarded. It is of great importance to know this. 
Christ Himself points it out to us in the words : 
"That whosoever belicveth in Him should not per- 
ish, but have everlasting life." 

This testimony is plain and clear. It declares 
that faith, that is, a firm confidence in the mercy 
and love of God in Christ, is the receptacle into 
which we should receive and in which we should 
keep the gift of the Son of God. Love and mercy 
prompt God to give us sueh a boon, while we can 
receive and retain it only through faith. No work 
or merit of ours avails us anything in this ; for even 
our best works are worthless in this regard. We 
must stretch forth our hands in faith ; and as God 
through love is the Giver, so we must through faith 

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in Christ be the receivers of His gift. We must 
believe what our text tells us, that God is kind and 
merciful and that He manifests His love toward us 
in sending His only begotten Son into our flesh 
and blood, to take upon Himself our sins, as John 
the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah declare : "This 
is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of 
the world." With such a gift, and assured of the 
love of God, we can stay our hearts against the 
assaults of sin and the accusations of our conscience; 
for we know that He is not wroth nor terrible, but 
that for Christ's sake He is kind and gracious unto 
us. Whoever believes this is truly happy and 
blessed, for this gift is so great and powerful that 
it crushes sin, death and every evil. As a burning 
fire devours a little drop of water, thus are the sins 
of the whole world annihilated when they come in 
contact with Christ ; yea, if we cling to Him in 
faith, our sins will be removed and destroyed, even 
as a straw is devoured in a mighty conflagration. 

Christ Himself tells us in our Gospel : "For God 
so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." The words 
"whosoever believeth in Him" are of especial im- 
portance here. Christ says nothing at all of good 
works as means unto salvation. Faith alone can 
and must receive this gift. Therefore we are undis- 
turbed by the noise of our adversaries ; we cling 
firmly to this doctrine, for here it is said : "Whoso- 
ever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have 
everlasting life." If we doubt this, or change it, 
we accuse Christ of falsehood and set ourselves up 
as judges over Him. 

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What glorious words of consolation and eternal 
life! God grant that we may faithfully receive 
them into our hearts. Whoever has accepted them 
in faith will not fear the devil, nor sin, nor death, 
but will exclaim, in great joy and firm assurance : 
I am comforted, for I now have the Son of God 
given unto me through the Father's love toward 
the world. This I firmly believe, because the Word 
of God, the holy Gospel, thus declares it unto me. 
And Thy Word, O God, and Thy Son Jesus Christ 
cannot lie ; this I know and believe. Wherein I 
am weak iu faith, give me strength to receive and 
to retain this Thy great gift and love, else it will 
be of no advantage unto me. It behooves us there- 
fore to become more and more acquainted with this 
gift and to be comforted by it ; this however can 
only take place through faith, as Christ teaches us. 
The stronger our faith, the greater will be our 
happiness and safety, so that we can cheerfully do 
and suffer what God imposes upon us, and this be- 
cause we know that He is merciful and full of love 
toward us. 

Perhaps you will object and say : Yea, if I were 
as pious and holy as Peter, Paul, or the holy Vir- 
gin, then would I dare to believe and be comforted 
with this gift. They were saints, and no doubt for 
them this gift was intended, but I, a poor sinner, 
have no right to appropriate it unto myself, for I 
have so often and in such manifold ways offended 
and opposed God. Such thoughts cannot be avoided 
when we hear this Gospel, and then think of our 
condition and great transgressions. But we must 
watch that these thoughts do not gain such power 
over us that we lose sight of the Gospel ; to this 

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we must speedily return and in this find comfort. 
Such thoughts are really nothing but unbelief, 
which would keep us from this gift and its com- 
fortable assurance of the forgiveness of our sins 
through faith in Christ- 
Unbelief, however, can be successfully combated 
only with the Word of God. Christ our Saviour 
gives unto us this Word, so that we dare not doubt 
its truthfulness. He tells us that His Father in 
heaven, the everlasting God, so loved "the world," 
that Ho even gave for it His only begotten Son* 
Now it is evident that the expression "the world" 
does not mean Mary, Peter, Paul, &c, but that it 
includes the whole human race, one and all, with- 
out any exception. Or have you any doubt that 
you are a human being? If so, feel your chest or 
your nose, and you will find out whether you are 
different from other people. Why then will you 
persistently exclude yourself from the application 
of this expression "world," when Christ so plainly 
includes in it all men, and does not apply it merely 
to the virgin Mary, to St. Peter, or to St. Paul ? If 
you and I refuse to accept Christ, because we think 
that we have no part in Him, we make Him a liar, 
for He said that He was given for the whole world. 
No, we must rather come to the opposite conclu- 
sion, that we have as good a right to this gift as 
Peter or Paul, or any one else has, simply because 
we are men, and as such a part of the world. Let 
us therefore beware and not doubt God's words by 
thinking that we cannot be sure whether we belong 
to those, to whom and for whom He gave His Son 
that they might have everlasting life. With such 
thoughts we deny that God speaks the truth. 

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Let us therefore shun such doubts, and the 
thoughts produciug them, as we would shun the 
very devil himself. Let us be firm in faith and say : 
We know that God gave His gift not only to Peter 
arid Paul, for if He had desired to bestow it only 
upon those perfectly worthy of it, He would have 
given it to the holy angels, who are pure, undefiled 
spirits, or to the sun and moon, which obey per- 
fectly the law of God by continuing in their pre- 
scribed course; but we read otherwise, namely, 
that "God gave His Son unto the world." There- 
fore we all have a part in this glorious gift, just as 
well as David or any apostle. Who was Dayid ? 
Did he not commit gross sins? Who were the 
apostles? Were they not all sinners and unworthy 
of this gift? 

Let no one, therefore, reason thus : I am a sin- 
ner, and am not as holy as St. Peter, consequently 
I dare not appropriate this gift to my consolation. 
Far be it from us to harbor such thoughts. Let ug 
believe in God's Word implicitly ; and because He 
says that He gave this gift unto the world, let us 
all, since we belong to the world, no matter who 
we are, lay hold of it in faith ; for if we do not, we* 
deny the truthfulness of God, and thereby commit * 
a great and damnable sin. 

Some perhaps might think : If God had told this 
unto me especially, I would believe it and be 
assured that it also applies to me. In this you err, 
my frieud ; God intentionally speaks in a general 
way, and says that He gave His Son unto the whole 
world, that all may be saved and none be excluded. 
If there are any who are not benefited by this gift, 
they are themselves to blame ; they exclude them- 

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selves, through wicked unbelief, from the blessing 
of the gift of God, and will have to render an 
account for their faithlessness; yea, their own 
words will condemn them. Besides, we have the 
holy Sacraments, instituted of Christ Himself, to be 
employed by us as means of grace, by which we are 
to obtain and to appropriate to ourselves this gift. 
This is a brief and simple explanation of our 
beautiful and precious text to-day, which is so com- 
prehensive that it can never be exhausted. It con- 
tains the chief doctrine of salvation, that God, 
through love towards the wicked world, gave His 
only begotten Son to be its Saviour. Let every 
one learn what a glorious treasure and consolation 
the Christians have, who God is, and what the 
world is, and how through faith we can obtain and 
enjoy this mercy, as Christ says: "Whosoever be- 
lieveth in Him shall not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life."* The doctrine concerning good works 
and their relation to faith cannot be considered in 
this connection, and will receive attention at some 
other time. Here we must consider what God 
js^ives unto us and how we ought to receive His 

t gift. 

Christ does not dwell here upon the duties which 

a Christian must fulfill to prove himself an obe- 
dient, beloved child of God, nor does He speak of 
the necessary gratitude for the love of God and the 
gift of eternal life. It suffices, therefore, if we in 
this connection restrict our consideration to the 
mercy of God, and to the truth that we are saved 
alone through this grace, which must be accepted 
in true faith, and with which good works on our 
part have nothing to do ; for we are saved only 

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through the love of God who gave His only begot- 
ten Son for us, for whose sake He now forgives us 
all our sins. God grant us His grace, that we may 
believe this truth and be happy in it in life and in 
death. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, 
our Lord and Saviour. Amen. 

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